The Ugly Truth About Horse Carriages
Every New Yorker (or anyone who has visited more than once) knows that horses and carriages do not belong in New York City.
There is one side of the horse carriage industry that a lot of tourists never see:
... it's not all majestic rides in the park.
Or romantic summer evenings.
As you might expect in one of the busiest cities in the world...
... horses and traffic are kind of a bad combination.
And those aren't even the worst images:
New York City has the highest horse-drawn carriage accident rate in the country.
The mayor of New York City is currently trying to have the carriages banned but is facing opposition.
What most people don't realize is that the No. 1 reason they should be banned is because they are extremely dangerous.
Now let's look at a particular instance, a horse named Charlie.
Only weeks after being transferred to New York City from an Amish farm, Charlie collapsed and died while pulling a carriage from the stable to Central Park.
ASPCA officials told the NY Post that Charlie's last few days were filled with pain because of a stomach ulcer.
There's even video:
Worst part: Charlie was the third horse collapse in six weeks.
Mayor Bloomberg said after Charlie died, "Most of them wouldn't have been alive if they didn't have a job." He continued: "(They're) part of New York's heritage ...that tourists love."
So why do carriage horses collapse? It could have something to do with the exhaust and pollution.
"The smoke and exhaust fumes from urban traffic are also dangerous for horses. A study by veterinarian Jeffie Roszel found that tracheal washes and samples from respiratory secretions of these horses showed enormous lung damage, the same kind of damage you would expect from a heavy smoker. Horses' nostrils are usually only 3 to 3 1/2 feet above street level, so these animals are truly ... living a nose-to-tailpipe existence."
Also, the weather could play a factor.
But really, what happens most often is the horses get spooked.
Think about it: The horses are surrounded by concrete, honking cars, flashing lights, and bewildered tourists.
A survey of national carriage horse accidents revealed that 85 percent of all accidents were the result of an animal spooking. Seventy percent of the time there was a human injury, and 22 percent of the time there was a human death. The survey also found that in New York City 98 percent of the horses who "spooked" became injured.