MANHATTAN — A recent injury to a carriage horse has renewed the debate over their presence around Central Park.
On Friday, a carriage horse crashed into a black sedan. Witnesses on the scene said the horse collapsed and remained unconscious for several minutes, according to a statement from advocacy group New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS). Footage shared by the advocacy group showed the horse kicking and struggling to get off the ground after regaining consciousness. Another showed the destruction and bloody aftermath of the incident.
Christina Hansen, a carriage driver and spokesperson for the industry, said the vet checked on the horse, named Chief, again Friday evening.
“It’s newsworthy because it happens so rarely. The horse is fine,” Hansen said.
A group called the Committee for Compassionate and Responsible Tourism wants the city to transition to electric carriages.
Susan Wagner, with the committee, shared her observations on electric carriages from a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. She said it’s better for the drivers — who can work longer hours if they choose, with less expenses. Naturally, it avoids putting horses in dangerous situations, too.
Horse-carriage drivers, however, question why the city would want more vehicles in the park after removing cars.
The city regulates all aspects of the horse-carriage industry. Adding electric vehicles to the tourism industry would require legislation.
During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term, he and the New York City Council enacted additional regulations for horse-drawn carriages.
The horses get 15-minute breaks every two hours and they can work no longer than 9 hours a day. Five weeks vacation is also required.