Horse drops dead in Portland. Is it time to ban horse carriages?

Earlier this month Balatore, a 20 year old horse in Oregon, had a major heart-attack and collapsed in front of the Central Library in downtown Portland, OR. Balatore was forced to draw carriages for most of his adult life. At the time of his death he was towing a newlywed couple to the Crowne Ballroom. It was a 90 degree summer afternoon. He should not have been forced to tow a load in such sweltering heat.

Josey Murphy witnessed the horse’s death. He was quoted on KATU saying, “At first I thought a person got hit or something until I seen the big mound in the middle of the road. I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s a hot day, the horse was old.”

This is not rare. Collisions or deaths-by-exhaustion have occurred in nearly every city or town where horse-drawn carriages operate. In the past few years, dozens and dozens of horses have died or were severely injured while pulling tourist carriages. If you’re not convinced that this is a significant problem, check out PETA’s newly revamped fact sheet on horse-drawn carriages. And it is not just hot days that horses are forced to endure. New York City horses were forced to trudge through last year’s major ice and snow storm. It is about time we get serious about banning horse-drawn carriages.

Things are Heating Up in New York City
As Heather Moore announced earlier on the care2 blog, PETA and other organizations are building a coalition in New York City to ban the cruel carriages. Their MySpace page now has over 1000 friends. This may be the time; we have a pretty good shot at banning the practice in the Big Apple. Several cities in Florida have done so, and so have big cities like Las Vegas, Paris, and London.

What can I do?

photo cred: PETA


Miriam Friedel L.
Miriam Friedel L6 years ago

William G. compares "abortion rights" to the suffering of animals. There are many opinions about whether a woman has the right to an abortion and they all should be respected. I think, though, this issue should not be confused with people trying to relieve the suffering of animals by the hands of HUMANS. The animals cannot help themselves and they are at the mercy of the humans who subject them to cruel treatment. Helping animals that suffer does not mean that their lives are worth more than that of a human; it only means that luckily for them, there are people in this world who care enough about them to end their plight. Human life is just a precious as that of an animal, but to imply that there is more emphasis on animal life than human, is a misguided opinion.

William G.
William G6 years ago

I am happy to see so many "Lovers of Life". Since there is so much passion for the sanctity of life here, I'm sure you'll all be happy to sign my petition against abortion right?

No? I thought not.There is something really sick when an animal is given more respect than a human.

Mandi A.
Amanda A6 years ago


Carla Pickett
Carla Pickett7 years ago

Yes they should be banned everywhere. I was in New Orleans many years ago, 1990's sometime, in the summer. It was really hot, near 100. The horses had big hats on to look cute I guess for the tourists, as if they weren't hot enough. They were parked resting between rides but were still in the blaring sun and I didn't see any water. The operators were talking to each other, but I didn't see one doing anything to tend to the horses. I don't think they even think about water for the horses. It is so sad. It should definitely be outlawed everywhere.

Judith H.
resignd C8 years ago

Years ago I went to Mackinaw Island with my brother and his family. He wanted to rent a horse drawn carriage and it was in the Spring. He kept using the whip to make the horse go faster, saying it was lazy from being inside all winter. He made me sick to my stomach and unfortunately I did not yell at him like I wanted. He had once abused me. Now that I am 67, I cannot believe I did not speak up. Yes, we do not need horses hauling us around for our amusement, especially when they give them out to people who know nothing about the particular horse or any horse for that matter. We need to expect more of our society now, and should have strict laws that prohibit this. Bicycles are much better for everyone. They even make them for two or more. Maybe a person drawn rickshaw is the answer for some people who are too lazy or physically or medically too weak to propel themselves.

Sue L.
michelle m8 years ago

Lou P very well said.
This is cruel to subject elderly horses to this particularly in the heat of sweltering summer. Disgusting ban this cruel act.

Rooibos Bird
IE R8 years ago

Why is a 20-year-old horse still be forced to work like a damned slave?

Why are "tourists" still paying some lazy slob (who needs to find a real job, not collecting money at another creature's expense!) to work over a hungry, thirsty, old horse to drag their fat asses around for amusement?

Do people actually think this "fun?" Do they actually think that forcing an animal to breath fumes, endure loud car traffic (half of whom driving shouldn't be!) heat, cold and rain, and insufficient food and water breaks to drag their miserable asses around town is acceptable and even worth a photo?!

I lived in Richmond for many years, and remember seeing people protesting against it...and it got banned!! Unfortunately, when I moved to Georgia, I saw it horses pulling carriages in Helen, GA, where the summers can be murderously hot and humid and it's a very hilly area (and where I more than once acerbically commented to the slave driver of the horse that he should get his fat ass off that horse and get a REAL job).

That people would actually still do this is astonishing and *offensive*. I cannot stand the idea of another animal being forced to carry me, and I've refused to ride a horse since I was a child - I was afraid I would hurt the horse in some way and didn't think they really like carrying us around (I'm still convinced they don't).

People's attitudes towards animals is hypocritical. I bet this wouldn't still be happening if it were some dog or cat our there!

Johanna P.
Johanna Pizzo8 years ago

You said it all Lou

Lou P.
Louis Peluso8 years ago

It's time local governments put aside their greed-driven motives on this issue. I had testified before the Philadelphia City Council 4 times on behalf of the carriage horses to no avail. The only "positive" aspect of the hearings were that Philadelphia instituted frigid/heat temperatures but w/o a heat index for humidity factored in for summer months. So, if the temperature was 87 degrees, but the humidity index was 90, making it feel like 90 degrees, the horse still works in such conditions. Local governments will not do the right thing as they lack minds/spines and revenue is their only concern. Realize, today's government "leaders" local, state, and federal are all about money, not ethics. This country is being run by politicians whose only real concern is saving their political asses and they will do ANYTHING to stay in power. America has become a Third World nation because of the idiots who run our local, state, and national legislatures. Americans have been going to the polls every election and always voting for the lesser of the two evils. You do that for a hundred years and all you have left is the evil of the evils. Politicians have become the biggest con-artists in America. They brought America to its financial knees and continue to do nothing right. Do you really think these self-serving clowns are interested in the welfare of horses, when they don't even care about humans? Animals are always the first ones to feel the effects of such spineless acts.

Sonja T.
Sonja T8 years ago

Once again we witness disrespect to animals. This is a disgrace that poor poor horse so old and working in those very high temperatures horse drawn carriages should only (if necessary) be pulled by young horses. Also there should be a limit on the weight the horse has to pull, these poors creatures have to pull weights that are far to much for them also up very steep hills. Put humans in their place and see how far they get. Is it really necessary to have horse drawn carriages walk or get on a bike lazy gits. What would the human race do if it did not have animals to ABUSE?????????