Newsweek has a story about recent carriage horse deaths. At first, I figured it was the same argument we see around these parts about the heat. Nope, it’s worse.

New York has the highest carriage-horse accident rate in the country, a fact that came to light last week after the death of Smoothie on Sept. 14, a mare who was spooked by a drum sound and took off running. She caught her carriage in a tree, broke her leg and went into shock. (A second horse, frightened by Smoothie’s outburst, bolted into a Mercedes-Benz, though he was not seriously injured.)

There were two additional accidents involving the horses this summer, one of which sent a cabby to the hospital. All that trouble has renewed nationwide calls for the industry’s ban; opponents to the concession have been holding candlelight vigils in front of Central Park.

“We’re trying to keep alive a 19th-century conveyance in 21st-century Manhattan,” says Holly Cheever, one of America’s foremost equine veterinarians, who has worked since 1988 as the primary equine adviser for two states and 18 municipalities, including New York. “Horses are herbivores whose unique response to stress is to run their butts off. Because of that, in a split second you can have a horse go from being half asleep to being 1,200 pounds crashing through traffic.”