Carriage Pulling Horse Collapses And Dies in New York's Central Park
WARNING: Distressing content
A tragic incident in New York's Central Park saw a horse having to be euthanised, after it collapsed to the ground in agony in front of shocked onlookers.
One of the park's carriage horses, Aisha, was caught on camera dragging her hind legs for a few metres before falling, where she then failed to get up.
Horse-drawn carriage rides around the famous New York City park have long been popular with tourists, but they have also come under increasing criticism from animal rights groups, who view the strain and stress on the animals as cruel and unnecessary.
Aisha had completed one ride around Central Park at the time, before standing with her handlers for around an hour and a half before falling to the ground, according to the Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park. She was eventually lifted into her horse float and taken to her stable.
The above clip was caught by animal advocacy group NYClass and has since gone viral, attracting widespread condemnation.
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Speaking to CBS News, NYClass' executive director Edita Birnkrant said: "It's very clear that it's not possible for horse carriages to operate in NYC without causing tremendous suffering, cruelty and abuse to the horses."
New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio also recognised the incident, tweeting: "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. The NYPD's Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is on the case and WILL get answers."
De Blasio had pledged in his first mayoral campaign back in 2013 to ban horse-drawn carriages but has yet to achieve that, and in 2016 a deal fell apart that would have seriously reduced the amount of horse-drawn carriages in the city.
However, Christina Hansen, a spokesperson for the NYC carriage industry, defended the use of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park and suggested that Aisha had died of a 'cardiac event'. In a statement to CBS News she said: "Animal rights extremists are already exploiting this tragedy to further their anti-horse agenda during our time of grief and shock.
"This medical emergency appears to be something that could happen to any horse, any time, anywhere, for any number of reasons, under a wide variety of conditions."
Nevertheless, the scrutiny on the use of the carriages in Central Park is only likely to intensify following this deeply sad incident.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/NYClass