The two sides of the carriage horse debate are arguing furiously this morning, after a horse named Spartacus toppled over near the hack line at Central Park yesterday. Predictably, neither side can agree on what happened: the anti-carriage, pro- animal rights groups, including NYCLASS and Friends of Animals, say the horse spooked after a bus got too close while making a turn. But a spokeswoman for the carriage industry who was present during the incident says the horse simply got tangled with another carriage, and was soon back on his feet and heading for home, where he was examined by a veterinarian and found to be unharmed.
Image via NYCLASS
The photo above is being distributed by NYCLASS, who posted it on their Facebook page last night. They're calling for an emergency protest and press conference at 1 p.m. today at 59th St and 5th Ave, near the hack line, where the incident took place.
Friends of Animals New York director Edita Birnkrant says the incident highlights the need to push a ban bill quickly through the City Council: "Had there been passengers in that carriage when the horse spooked and it fell over, they could have been badly injured."
But Christina Hansen, a carriage driver and spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, an industry group, says that while Spartacus did trip, he was quickly helped up by a team of drivers and sent home to his stable. She also sent the Voice of a photo of Spartacus, standing in his stall this morning, "happy and unharmed," she says.More »