Outrage over death of Central Park carriage horse caught on camera

A carriage horse on Central Park South. (File photo by Tequila Minsky)

Animal rights activists protested in Central Park on Sunday afternoon after the sudden death of a carriage horse on Saturday.

Video released on social media by animal rights group NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets) showed the horse collapse in Central Park on early Saturday afternoon.

The horse reportedly suffered a cardiac event, according to the Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park, and was euthanized later on Saturday following consultation with a vet, officials from the horse group told ABC7. Those officials also told the outlet, “Medical emergencies can happen to the healthiest horses, receiving the best, highly-regulated care.”

The Sunday protest included a die-in, and people held signs reading, “How many more horses have to suffer and die? End this animal abuse!”

Mayor [Bill] de Blasio should instruct the NYPD to swiftly investigate this case,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, in a statement. “At a minimum, the driver’s license should be immediately suspended until an investigation has been completed.

“Working horses on slippery asphalt for long periods of time without the proper care and nourishment is inexcusable,” Irby added. “The animal protection movement in America ignited 150 years ago over the issue of carriage horse abuse, yet the City of New York continues to allow it to persist today. The American people will no longer tolerate these incidents in our modern-day society – this isn’t 1820, it’s 2020.”

De Blasio vowed action in a tweet on Sunday afternoon.

“The video of a horse collapsing and dying in Central Park yesterday is painful and says so much about a persistent problem. We’ve made real progress in animal welfare but we must go further,” de Blasio tweeted on March 1. “The NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is on the case and WILL get answers.”

Other officials tweeted out calls for an investigation, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Members Mark D. Levine, Helen Rosenthal and Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“There should be an immediate investigation into what happened to this horse and the cause of death,” Johnson wrote on Sunday afternoon. “This video is painful to watch and the public deserves answers.”