What to Know
- A 12-year-old horse was euthanized on Saturday after suffering cardiac issues, the horses vet said
- Video of the horse collapsing in Central Park went viral, catching the attention of animal rights activists and city officials
- Several city leaders have called for official investigations into the death
One day after a carriage horse collapsed in New York City's Central Park and died a short time later, animal protestors crowded outside of the Clinton Park Stables to called for independent investigations into the working conditions for the city's carriage horses.
The 12-year-old horse named Aisha was euthanized on Saturday hours after it was caught on video repeatedly collapsing over a 15-minute period.
"The horse showed sudden signs of distress around 12:30 pm on Saturday after doing a single ride and then waiting for approximately an hour and a half at the 7th Ave carriage stand. The vet and our emergency horse trailer were called immediately, and the horse unhitched and unharnessed," said a spokesperson for the Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park.
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"She progressively and rapidly weakened in her hind end and unexpectedly collapsed. The trailer arrived within 10 minutes of the call and, since the horse could not stand, she was slid into the trailer, following large animal rescue protocols, and returned to her stable on 52nd St.," the spokerson added.
The horse's owner and vet "made the difficult but humane decision to put her to sleep" after cardiac complications, the spokesperson said.
Animal rights activists quickly condemned the response time and actions taken to treat the horse following the collapse. Around 150 protestors gathered at 1 p.m. for an "emergency rally."
"Instead of calling a qualified vet, to help this horse, several carriage drivers tied him up with ropes, shoved, pulled him into a trailer and they took him back to the stable," said Edita Birnkrant, executive director of NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets).
Birnkrant said carriage horses are overworked, under cared for, and put in dangerous situations every day with no accountability when things like this happen.
"This is an industry out of control. That's why we are calling on all the authorities who have the ability to fully, immediately shut down this abusive industry. We need a third-party investigation. It cannot be the very city agencies that are so inept to allow this abuse," Birnkrant said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted about the video on Sunday, calling for immediate investigations.