Jeremy Beckham
Crews try to upright Jerry, a carriage horse, after he collapsed. An employee of Carriages for Hire said Jerry is OK.

This last week, Jerry the carriage horse was struck down in the middle of the day downtown — with what was perceived to be colic. It was pushing 100 degrees outside, so the real reason for his collapse is disputable. Nonetheless, I am of strong belief that horses do not belong in the downtown area.

When horses and huge carriages are mixed with cars, taxis, buses, pedestrians, bikes and emergency vehicles — fire trucks, ambulances and police cars — they are a recipe for disaster. Not to mention this animal is forced to breathe in car fumes all day in the hot sun. And for what? Carriage horse rides downtown are from another century. The horses are exploited for profit and forced to live and work a very grueling existence in modern day Salt Lake — all for profit and for a relatively few number of tourists who are attracted to them.

I am a former carriage driver. I witnessed many abuses and injuries over the years, for none ever saw a pasture. Their veterinary care was minimal. It was so dangerous — I cannot tell you how many near misses I had with cars.

Although I worked in Chicago, this can happen in Salt Lake City, too. Even if they are a responsible company, these horses just do not belong in an urban setting. There have been too many accidents across the country where both horses and people have been seriously injured and some in which horses have died. Let's not have this happen to Jerry.

Marie Walsh-West