MANHATTAN — The white carriage horse whose life was cut short last weekend will be remembered at a candlelight vigil and march on Friday night.
Charlie, who according to a press release recently moved to New York from Amish country, collapsed on West 54th Street near Eighth Avenue on Sunday on the way to start his shift carting tourists around Central Park. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Charlie lived the undignified life of a carriage horse, and this after doing hard labor as an Amish work horse,” said Edita Birnkrant, director of the animal rights organization Friends of Animals, in a statement. “Death on the street is a fate that will continue to happen to such horses until New Yorkers say enough is enough.”
Advocates from Win Animal Rights and Friends of Animals will join State Senator Tony Avella at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, where Avella is scheduled to speak about legislation he has proposed calling for carriage horses to be removed from the streets of New York and sent to sanctuaries.
The advocates will then join in a candlelight march to the Clinton Hill Stables, where Charlie once lived.
The horse’s death sent the animal advocacy community into an uproar. The ASPCA is investigating the case, and at an unrelated press event on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his office had called for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
But Bloomberg also took a moment to defend the carriage horse industry and its value to the city of New York—and to the horses it employs.
“Most of them wouldn’t have been alive if they didn’t have a job,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor did not elaborate on his statement.
The vigil will be held at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue on Friday, Oct. 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.