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St. Louis health official urges horse-drawn carriage ban

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-Carriage rides in downtown St. Louis could be a thing of the past. The city's health director approached members of the city council Monday looking to ban the practice.

It was Saturday night when the carriage horse, Moose, was encountered by the St. Louis city's health director Pam Walker. She shot video, and clearly believed something was wrong. And the lone incident could lead to broader ban on all horse drawn carriages.

“I have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of these horses,” said Walker. “And the current situation just indicates to me that the only way I’m going to be able to do that is to ban them.”

Moose's owner, Jerry Kirk of Brookdale Farms, says the horse received a clean bill of health Monday.

“Our vet, who is an equine specialist, said in his opinion that Moose is fine to work and pull a carriage and do exactly what he is supposed to do,” explained Kirk.

Kirk and Walker disagree about what was making the horse breathe so hard the other night. On social media Walker insisted he was being overworked. Kirk says otherwise.

“He had just finished a ride,” said Kirk. “The video tape that shows him breathing hard would be like if you had just finished walking or you had just finished running.”

Walker said, “I was raised on a 500 acre cattle farm. I know a horse in distress when I see one. That dog won’t hunt.”

As for a possible ban, that's been a political football in places like New York City, and now it appears to be one here.

“I think maybe she’s part of a small group that wants to further an agenda that doesn’t maybe apply to all the rest of us,” said Kirk. “I think this was really about headlines and all the rest of that than she was the health of the horse.”

“There’s no political agenda, but I will guarantee the health and safety of these horses and if that requires a ban, that’s what I will support,” said Walker.

Walker says getting an ordinance drafted and passed would be a long process. Likely made longer by the fight the carriage businesses would put up.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's policy on all this says the horses require special care, but the vets say nothing about banning horse drawn carriages.


  • Ed Golterman

    On the othe rhand, killing competition is the business ‘model’ in St. Louis. The hockey team killed Kiel convention hall and the Arena to come downtown. The Fox is killing Kiel and MUNY, again and Ballpark Village will kill Union Station. So, who benefits if the horse drawn carriages are banned?

    • Mark Foster

      The street is already gridlocked. You’ll have a bus or Fed-Ex in a no stopping zone at the ballpark Hilton blocking a lane. and a horse clip-clopping along in another. Memorial is no longer an alternative. You want a touristy ride, do it around Forest Park.

  • Looktowardtomorrow

    Let’s hope horse-drawn carriages will soon be a thing of the past in St. Louis. Countless stories can be found of horses being spooked on busy city streets (endangering the lives of the horses, and both carriage and car passengers) or collapsing under the unyielding summer heat. Busy city streets, teeming with cars and buses, are no place for horses. Please don’t ever patronize this cruel form of animal entertainment.

    • loucitysue

      Horses that are born and bred to pull, love pulling–that is, when they are well cared for. Banning it would be like banning agility competitions for border collies. The City should have appropriate regulation and oversight of this industry, which they currently don’t seem to. The people who are mistreating and neglecting these horses should be punished and their licenses should be revoked.

      • Bob

        This compares to agility contests for border collies if the dogs are competing on the highway, dodging cars like a frogger game.

  • Kathe Barbeau

    Why not just ban the companies that mistreated their animals?? There is more than a few companies that operate these carriages. Shutting down numerous businesses due to one company is ludicrous! Everytime you read something negative about carriage companies in St. Louis its always the SAME company. This same company had one die of a heart attack in December at WinterWonderland !

  • Tony G.

    Yes, let’s ban this.

    And while we’re at it, ban that.

    And this over here BANNED.

    Just ban independent action, and thought, and all will be fine. Remember, you don’t need your silly independence. The government will tell you what correct behavior is.

    • Fed Up With Liberals

      Exactly Tony…..like the great President Ronald Reagan said, “I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”
      Sadly, liberals like Pam Walker and Mayor Slay will never get it.

  • Dara Ashby

    Our city’s Health Commisioner is doing the right thing! You Nay Sayers…How ’bout YOU pull a carriage in 98 degree heat on black top for 8 hours? Pam Walker is doing the right thing! Our city has SO MUCH TO OFFER that we sure do not need horse drawn carriages to increase tourism. Our weather is too extreme to maintain humane conditions for these horses. I vote a HUGE YES!

    • Tony G.

      These animals were bred and trained for this labor, Dara?
      What, exactly would you have the carriage ride owners and employees do for income?
      Further, they pay money for permits to operate, taxes and other fees for the privilege to operate. This income helps pay the non-productive employees of government their salary.
      I suppose you would have less income going to government and more money going out in food stamps and unemployment.

      Of course then they would vote Democrat to keep the bennies coming in, so it’s all good.

    • loucitysue

      Again, I know pulling horses; they love pulling. Better than sitting in a stall or getting sent to the East Side to get made into dog food, or carved up for the French to eat. As for the high temperatures, busy streets, etc., etc., I agree. Better regulations. But I would feel really bad for any of the horses that get sent to the slaughter house if this work is banned. If you feel bad for horses, go after the women who go on hormones manufactured from the urine of brood mares who spend their entire lives pregnant in gruesomely confining stalls.

  • Fed Up With Liberals

    Sounds like we’re turning into New York City…..the only difference is we have Mayor Slay and city health director Pam Walker instead of Mayor Bill de Blasio……all three of them are typical BIG government liberal left imbeciles! “The horse received a clean bill of health” today….like Jerry Kirk said this is all about “furthering their liberal left agenda” and “headlines!”

  • Louis


    • loucitysue

      The carriages those draft horses pull are as easy for them as for you to push a stroller. Would you rather all those horses be trapped in a hot stall all day or worse, sent to the slaughter house, once they are useless to their owners, who are likely in it for the money, as most business owners are?

  • Fishbone

    St. Louis city’s health director Pam Walker has an agenda period, if anything have the driver carry a work log once the max is hit the horse is put to rest for a set period and exchanged out for a fresh horse.Let the police randomly check logs.Clock the horse in for work , keep an odometer and time clock when the mileage and time are up the the horse is clocked out for work and a log is made.

  • The Guy

    It sounds like Pam Walker is using her position to enforce her own personal beliefs. Is that illegal??. Sounds like the city needs to maybe reconsider there department heads. Wasn’t there a city department head that reigned last week??

  • Mark

    I own a farm in northern Mo. All the Amish up there use horses everyday all day, in the heat, cold, rain, snow all types of weather. They have them pulling plows, planters, buggies, stumps you name it they pull it. All these animals pull and work way harder than a horse pulling a buggy with wheels on a concrete street. Maybe all you bleeding hearts along with Pam Walker need to go up there and tell them they can’t do that anymore. They don’t have log books on how long they have worked during the day. These horses were bread and raised for this kinda of work.

    • The Guy

      Mark, that is so cruel. Those poor animals have no elected representation. We should free them from the chains of slavery. Pam Walker 2016

  • G Murf

    Pam Walker is the Health Commisioner not Animal Control, why is she sticking her nose in anyway? Answer; She is a card carrying member of PETA. This is simply furthering their agenda. Pam go look for lead paint and keep Peta’s nose out of this.

  • Krist

    I don’t like her attitude and her “that dog wont hunt” quote, I mean no offense Ms Walker, but get off your high horse.

  • jo

    This women job is to protect horses from dropping dead in the street ,this practice will be a thing of the past in the very near future,Thank God !!

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