An apparently healthy Central Park carriage horse collapsed and died in the street of New York yesterday.
The beautiful white horse collapsed during the early morning commute, from its stables in western Manhattan to Central Park, to begin its shift yesterday morning.
The horse death will fuel the argument for the carriage animals to be taken off the streets permanently.
The horse collapsed and died on West 54th Street near Eighth Avenue at about 9:30 am, according to the ASPCA.
The famous Central Park carriage horses, which number around 220 in New York, work nine hour shifts, after making the two mile journey to the park, where they pick up tourists.
According to activists, the stress of the work and the inadequate stabling causes the horses to live short miserable lives.
Campaigners also claim that the number of collisions also makes the cost of the industry unacceptable.
Contrary to popular belief the Central Park carriage horses do not live in the park, but in four stables in western Manhattan.
The four stables are located on 37th, 38th, 45th and 52nd street, all between 10th and 11th avenue.
After the horrific incident, animal rights campaigners have called for an investigation.
“The life of a carriage horse on New York City streets is extremely difficult and life threatening and the ASPCA has long believed that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today’s urban setting,” said Stacy Wolf of the ASPCA.
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages representative, Elizabeth Forel said:
“Healthy horses do not drop dead on the street.
“The drivers always like to profess that they are such horse experts.
“If that is so, then shouldn’t the driver have been more sensitive to this horse and noticed that something was wrong.”
Speaking to New York Daily News, a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York said that the unexplained death was “a tragedy.”
“It’s not something that happens regularly. … Our horses are taken care of.”
According to ASPCA, the horse dead body was transported to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. Results are expected tomorrow morning.