Target: Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
Goal: Ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets.
The recent collapse of a 13-year-old carriage horse named Jerry in Salt Lake City due to an attack of colic has made waves in the media, with many critics of horse-drawn carriages speaking out against their use on city streets. The Humane Society of Utah is calling on the city once more to ban horses from pulling carriages because of their exposure not only to the everyday fumes and noise of city streets, but also to the extreme temperatures of both summer and winter in Utah, which place added stress on horses that already work hard enough. Furthermore, carriages travel much slower than most automobiles that frequent city streets, elevating the risk of accidents, and horses can be unpredictable when nervous or excited, as they may feel when confronted with the bustle of the city, resulting in the risk that they will hurt themselves or passersby.
Jerry collapsed in near-100-degree heat, which may have contributed to his bout of colic, but according to the Salt Lake Tribune, “Salt Lake County Animal Services spokesman Don Porter said Tuesday that officers found no violations of city ordinance or policy after investigating the incident and visiting Jerry and his owners.” Current regulations for carriage horses in Salt Lake City are dangerously lax, allowing them to be worked with water breaks only every two hours unless the heat index “reaches 150 degrees, which would require the city’s record high of 107 degrees, plus 57 percent humidity.”
By signing this petition, you are demonstrating to Mayor Becker that this treatment of animal workers is inhumane and unjust. The invisible, unheard suffering of carriage horses forced to work in city streets cannot continue, especially under such loose regulation. We all must take a stand to ensure than an incident like Jerry’s never happens again in the streets of Salt Lake.
Dear Mayor Becker,
I was extremely saddened to hear about the recent incident of Jerry the carriage horse’s collapse. His bout of colic could very well have been brought on or exacerbated by the intense heat of the day, and the existing ordinance regulating the treatment of carriage horses was insufficient to protect him. Carriage horses forced to work on city streets suffer every day from air pollution and noise, and sometimes from extreme cold or heat, as experienced by 13-year-old Jerry.
I am calling on you to ban the use of horse-drawn carriages in Salt Lake City because the rights of these animal workers are being violated with impunity, as they cannot advocate for themselves. I am urging you to recognize that horse-drawn carriages represent not only an infringement on the horses’ rights and health, but also a potential danger to their lives and the lives of city-dwellers, in the event of horses becoming suddenly nervous or afraid. Carriages are no longer necessary as a mode of transportation, and though they may be a fanciful and attractive addition to any community, we must put the rights of animal workers before our aesthetic preferences.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The Brown Brothers via Wikimedia Commons