An exhausted carriage horse collapsed during the evening rush hour in Manhattan on Wednesday, lying on the pavement while its driver repeatedly punched it and ordered it to “stand up.”
The animal’s knees buckle in video footage as the driver yanks at the reins and smacks the horse to bring it to a halt on 9th Avenue and West 45th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.
“Get up! Get up! Get up! Come on, get up,” the frustrated driver ordered as traffic backed up on the busy street around 5 p.m
Onlookers were disturbed by the flogging.
“What if I hit you like that, bro?” asked a concerned viewer.
“Stop hitting him,” another woman was heard pleading.
“I’m trying to get him up, okay,” the driver said while whipping the horse twice with the reins.
The downed horse then turned on its side and rested its head on the road while the driver removed his carriage with the help of a pedestrian.
A group of police officers then arrived and were filmed dousing the horse with water and finally getting it back on its feet after more than an hour, according to the video and witnesses.
The NYPD mounted unit then transported the animal to an undisclosed location for treatment, according to police.
The incident horrified witnesses and supporters and came after a brutally extended heatwave that finally broke out on Wednesday.
“I saw the horse collapse. He was obviously malnourished, dehydrated, hungry. The guy started whipping his horse and telling him to get back up instead of giving him water,” Uber Eats driver Kelvin Gonzalez, 25, told The Post.
“I told him, ‘Yo, stop whipping him, give him some water. That’s a horse, not a machine.”
“It’s really sad, man. You can tell that the horse has not been groomed. You can tell he exploited that horse. The horse was hungry, he was thirsty. You can tell the horse has collapsed from thirst.”
The horse “tried to get up about 10 times and kept collapsing” before police “poured adrenaline up his butt,” Gonzalez said.
“He tipped the water over because he was so disoriented. He was beside himself. He licked the water off the floor because he was so thirsty. That [driver] I didn’t care. He did not care. He just wanted to get his horse back on his feet so he could make more money,” the witness claimed.
Another witness told the Post the horse was bleeding from the knee, and a local tourist said she believed the horse was suffering from heat exhaustion.
“I told them not to try to force the horse up. It’s like a person you wait for and make sure they get over it,” said Cathy Garfield, 75, who noted she grew up around horses.
“He was afraid to take the bride off the horse because he feared he wouldn’t be able to control it once it got up. He knew nothing about horses,” she said of the driver.
“He tried to drink water but still had his teeth in his mouth. I was able to convince the driver to remove the bit from the bridle. It had tried to drink water. It’s tough when you have a big piece of metal in your mouth,” she said.
Advocates said the animal passed out on 9th Avenue without veterinary care for over an hour.
“How many more incidents like this do we need? This is clearly animal cruelty and must be stopped,” said Edita Birnkrant, executive director of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, in a statement.
Nathan Semmel, 52, attorney for Voters for Animal Rights, agreed with NYCLASS that the city legislature should replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vehicles, a proposal currently under consideration by the city council.
“It’s time we replaced horses with modern technology,” he told the Post. “The city can offer better services to horses and drivers. These horses have been suffering for years. There is nothing romantic about seeing a horse that is fighting for its life and is down.”
The fight against commercial carriage rides in Central Park and Midtown had accelerated in recent years and months after footage of horses collapsing and running into cars went viral.
If passed, the new measure would give horse drivers preferences for an electric carriage license and require them to pay union wages.
The drivers are represented by the powerful Transport Workers Union, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s Hell’s Kitchen horror show from The Post.
Mayor Eric Adams, who was backed by TWU, said he doesn’t support a promotion ban but is open to discussion on the issue.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio was an outspoken critic of the industry, but his multiple attempts to enact a citywide ban on horse-drawn carriages during his two terms in office were stopped by political opponents concerned about protecting the industry’s 200 jobs.
His predecessor, Mike Bloomberg, was an unabashed fan of the tourist-friendly business who fought off neighbor-sayers who claimed the industry was abusive.
Proponents of hansom cab rides claim the horses are healthy and well cared for.
“New York City can and must lead. The world is watching,” said Birnkrant.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/10/carriage-horse-passes-out-near-midtown-manhattan/ Carriage horse passes out near Midtown Manhattan