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Runaway Carriage Horse Sparks Animal Welfare Frenzy

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The story of Arthur the Central Park carriage horse has spread like wildfire, dividing public opinion and turning the 10-year-old gelding into an unwitting poster-pet for animal rights groups.

The ordeal occurred last Sunday when Arthur became spooked by an opening umbrella and bolted, throwing owner and driver, Colm McKeever and carrying three female passengers on a terrifying collision course.

Arthur’s panicked frenzy came to an end when the carriage became wedged between two parked cars, damaging the vehicles and destroying the cart. Two of the passengers suffered minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt.

In the wake of the incident, Edita Brinkrant, executive director of the anti-carriage organization NY CLASS made the following heated statement to the New York Post:

“It is now clearer than ever that the city’s antiquated horse carriage rules endanger anyone who visits, lives, or works in New York City. The enforcement of these carriages is a joke and it has only gotten more lax in the last four years, despite repeated assurances from City Hall. The time for talk is over. We need real leadership and we need it now.”

Activists from NY CLASS, PETA and other animal rights groups gathered in Central Park Thursday to protest Arthur being sent to slaughter for his infraction.

Little did they know that on the day of their rally, Arthur and two other retired New York carriage horses were already en route to Blue Star Equiculture‘s farm in Palmer, Massachusetts.

Christine Hansen, a spokeswoman for the NYC carriage horse industry, told the NY Post the protester’s fears were unwarranted and that Arthur will spend the rest of his life relaxing in comfort and conducting recreational pulls for visitors to Blue Star farm.

“He’ll only be adopted out if the perfect home comes along,” Hansen said. “He is not going to be slaughtered. He will not be eaten. He will not be turned into glue.”


Former owner and carriage driver, Colm McKeever purchased Arthur in January from an Amish farmer. He was told that the white Percheron gelding was an experienced carriage horse from Cleveland.

After the incident, McKeever made arrangements to donate Arthur to Blue Star, realizing his career as a work horse was over.

On a happy note, the horse that sparked such controversy has made a new best friend! Prince is another white Percheron retired to Blue Star this week. Even though he is approximately 10 years Arthur’s senior, the pair have become inseparable, according to Blue Star’s executive director, Pamela Rickenbach.

What do you think about the incident involving Arthur? Is New York’s carriage horse industry a danger to the animals and/or the public? Share your opinions in the comments!

 

H/T to the New York Post

Featured Image via Facebook/Blue Star Equiculture

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Written by Dina Fantegrossi
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