Horse-drawn carriages are commonly seen on the bustling streets of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, but they will soon be a thing of the past.
Last Friday, the City Council voted to ban all horse-drawn carriages by the end of the year. All current operators will not be able to renew their licenses, that expire at the end of the year. In addition, no new licenses will be issued.
For years, animal activists have been petitioning for better conditions for working horses and pushing for a ban on horse-drawn carriages.
“For two years, we have relayed information to aldermen and the mayor about how they (operators) overwork horses and violate laws intended to protect public safety. These horse operators refuse to self-regulate. … The city doesn’t have time to babysit this trade,” Jodie Wiederkehr, leader of Chicago Alliance for Animals, said.
The new ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2021. The number of licenses has been declining over the years with 10 remaining, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement, “These animals suffer due to harsh working conditions, often experiencing chronic medical problems, including respiratory ailments and lameness, which are exacerbated by standing on hard surfaces for long periods and forced to pull overloaded carriages.”
Chicago joins a growing list of cities that are banning horse-drawn carriages including Salt Lake City; Biloxi, Mississippi; Camden, New Jersey; and several cities in Florida.
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