NYC horse carriage accident caught on camera

The scene of a horse carriage accident near the Plaza Hotel on April 23, 2014. CBS New York

NEW YORK -- Animal rights activists plan to protest the city's horse-drawn carriage industry following an accident near the Plaza Hotel, CBS New York reported.

A bus startled a horse and it fell over on the sidewalk, becoming pinned to the ground by its carriage Wednesday, according to a tourist from Oklahoma who provided CBS 2 with photos of the incident.

The tourist claims the horse was made to continue working even though it was limping.

However, a carriage driver on the scene of the accident disputed the tourist's account of what happened.

"He did not spook. He did not collapse. Contrary to rumors, he was not startled by a bus; there was no bus on 59th St. at the time," said carriage driver Christina Hansen. "We are very happy Spartacus is fine."

The accident comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio looks to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city and replace them with electric vintage-style vehicles dubbed "E-Carriages."

"A horse in the middle of the streets of Midtown doesn't belong," de Blasio said on April 11. "I think a humane society doesn't do that to animals and we have an alternative where we'll have an opportunity for tourists to have a similar experience but without horses being a part of it."

De Blasio wanted to ban the horses during his first week in office, but earlier this month he said he expects the City Council to ban the practice by year's end.

The proposed ban has faced plenty of opposition.

Carriage horse owner Anita Gerami said the iconic carriage rides are part of Central Park's appeal.

"I don't think people want to get out of a car to take a ride in another car," said Gerami. "People come for the horses, to see them. Without them, I don't think they would get a tour Central Park the same way it is now."

In a New York Times editorial last Tuesday, actor Liam Neeson said he sees the proposal "as a class issue" that threatens the livelihoods of carriage drivers and stable hands.

The City Council has not yet introduced the legislation.

Meanwhile, a representative of the carriage-horse industry categorically denied a report in the New York Post that city officials are negotiating a deal with carriage owners to give them taxi medallions worth $1 million in exchange for giving up their businesses.

"The subject has not been raised between the industry and the administration, and we are not interested," said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. "Our members have worked with horses all their lives and have no interest in trading a carriage for a cab. We remain open to working with the administration to find a solution that preserves Central Park's horse carriage industry."


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