Horse collapse in Midtown outrages, renews demand for carriage ban

Horrified onlookers watched on Wednesday evening as a workhorse collapsed from heat-related exhaustion.

The incident occurred on 45th Street and 9th Avenue during the evening rush over at around 5 p.m. and according to witnesses, the carnage driver reprimanded the debilitated animal and reportedly even flogging it, demanding it to get back to its hooves as traffic encroached and New Yorkers grew furious. The dramatic scene saw the horse spread on his side under the hot sun while more pedestrians gathered to observe the disturbing scene.

NYPD officers rushed to the location where they began attempting to save the animal’s life by detaching it from the carriage and hosing it with cold water. In videos from the scene, officers could be heard encouraging the horse and willing it on, stating: “Come on, buddy.” The process took well over an hour but after the intervention, the horse was able to be helped back up, much to the delight of the crowd who cheered when it staggered back upright.

The NYPD’s mounted unit took possession of the animal, transporting it for medical care, police said.

The distressing incident outraged animal rights activists such a NYCLASS who has been calling for horse-drawn carriages to be banned for years. Following this collapse, the group’s Executive Director, Edita Birnkrant, is calling on the city council to fast-track Intro 573, which would replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vehicles. 

“How many more incidents like this do we need? This is clearly animal abuse, and it must be stopped,” Birnkrant said in a statement. “New York City can and must lead. The world is watching.”

Queens City Council Member Robert Holden is sponsoring the bill that would see the antiquated tourist attraction outlawed. Holden took to Twitter to denounce the episode and called for the horse industry to be replaced.

“NYC is better than this. My bill would prevent poor horses, like this latest one today, from suffering or dying on our streets, replacing them with clean, electric carriages like this one. Drivers would be able to work year-round and earn more. Drivers and horses deserve better,” Holden wrote.