A group in Fort Collins is starting a petition to ban horse carriage rides claiming it's dangerous, inhumane and a traffic hazard. I tend to disagree.

Editors Note: When this was originally written, their Facebook page (a private group; not the City of Fort Collins itself) was wide open. Around 5:30 p.m. the page was changed to not allow anyone to post and about a half hour later, the page was changed once again to not allow anyone to even leave a comment on any of their existing posts. Additionally, all comments/posts from everyone other than the owner of the page have been removed, including mine, which were all very professional and well thought out comments.

I am no horse expert, but I think many of these animals are taken care of better than just about any other domesticated animal; especially when that animal is your business. Seriously, the horse has been doing what they do much longer than we have been around and now all of a sudden, it's immoral and inhumane?

Has anyone told the Amish and Quakers that this practice is inhumane, or Budweiser? The horse and carriage has been a way of life for centuries, and now the political correctness has reared its ugly head once again. Exploited? Did anyone ask the horses how they felt? Most breeds that pull these carriages were bred for that type of work. It's what they do, and have for a thousand years. I'm reasonably sure these horses don't care if their owners are getting paid to haul paying customers that help feed his family, or a wagon full of hay or an Amish family to church.

Horses endure pain and suffering because of the outdated practice of carriage rides. According to animal rights organizations, horses are forced to toil in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long. These gentle animals suffer from respiratory ailments because they are nose to tail-pipe all day and breathe in exhaust fumes. They develop debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces. Horses are known to die regularly from heatstroke or automobile collisions in this industry.

Horses are afforded no federal protection under the Animal Welfare Act, so the responsibility of looking out for horses’ welfare falls to local animal control officials. But anti-cruelty laws provide few safeguards to horses, and many humane authorities just don’t have the resources or the time to monitor horse-drawn carriages in order to ensure that horses are not being overworked and that operators are following regulations.

When horses grow too old, tired, or ill to continue pulling heavy loads, they aren’t retired to green pastures and loving homes, as many people are led to believe. It’s cost-prohibitive to maintain a permanent sanctuary for the countless numbers of horses who break down in this industry. Instead, many worn-out horses are slaughtered and turned into food for dogs or for carnivores in zoos, or else they’re shipped overseas for human consumption - Ban Horse Carriages in Fort Collins Facebook

Amish Carriage - Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images

I am an animal lover of all sorts, and I am not defending one position. Many animals, of all breeds, are mistreated, just like humans are. There are more great horse owners than bad, and animal cruelty IS a crime, and if these owners are treating their animals badly, then they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just like the next guy.

I also agree that perhaps having carriage routes on main arteries may not be the best idea, but again, that is something the city should regulate. I'm sure these same people are trying to ban certain rodeo events too for "cruel and inhumane" treatment of the rough stock animals like bareback and saddle bronc riding as well.

Biloxi, Mississippi, Camden, New Jersey, Palm Beach, and Pompano Beach, Key West, and Treasure Island in Florida have already banned horse drawn carriages, and even New York City is rumored to be on the way to banning carriages as well.

What have I missed? Why is a horse drawn carriage now an evil thing after centuries of horse drawn carriages? It's a way of life for millions, and helped build this country, and should be regulated just like any other industry. One bad apple won't overturn the cart. Punish those who deserve to be punished...not the industry. There are horses for pets and horses that work...it's what they do.