Starting the first day of the new year January 1st, 2021 horse-drawn carriages will no longer be seen on the streets of Chicago. Carriage operators will be unable to renew their licenses and the city will stop issuing new ones.
For over 150 years horses have dangerously trotted the roads in the city controlled with cruelty and forced into the modern era for no reason but some archaic sense of whimsy that evokes visions of being a Disney princess for some.
The Chicago City Council voted on April 24th to ban horse-drawn carriages once and for all after years of protests.
The horse-drawn carriage industry has been shrinking for years. The city now has 10 carriage licenses that will expire at the end of the year, The Chicago Tribune reported.
At one point, it had 60 licenses available, according to The Associated Press.
Chicago is in good company joining multiple other cities across the country that have already banned horse-drawn carriages including Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Reno, Camden, Biloxi, Salt Lake City, and many others including multiple cities in Florida; Key West, Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, and Treasure Island.
Notably, New York City isn’t on that list as of yet but hopefully in time with more protests and pressure they will be.
A key player in the Chicago ban passing was the Chicago Alliance for Animals or CAA.
The CAA spent the last three years plus documenting abuses like the horses being denied water as they were forced into heavy traffic.
The horses worked in unbearable heat, thunderstorms that spooked them, and freezing blizzards that chilled them to the bone.
The grassroots group is working with animal sanctuaries to arrange new homes for the horses after they can no longer “work” in Chicago but the choice to retire the horses is sadly in the “owners” hands.
Many animal rights organizations have celebrated the ban including Kitty Block President and Chief Executive of the Humane Society of the United States who said in response to the news:
“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,”
Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, said Friday was a banner day for the horses in Chicago, who will no longer pound the pavement through extreme heat, thunderstorms, and blizzards.
“PETA and the Chicago Alliance for Animals have supported this progressive ban every step of the way, and we have high hopes that this kinder, carriage-free city will influence others to follow suit,” she said in a statement.
This comes hot on the heels of a 12-year-old carriage horse who collapsed in NYC’s Central Park on March 5th. Video of the incident blazed across social media sparking outrage and stirring several officials to call for an investigation.
DISTURBING.— julie marie cappiello Ⓥ (@jmcappiello) February 29, 2020
This carriage horse from Clinton Park Stables is seen stumbling and unable to straighten their back legs in Central Park earlier today.
After years of doing nothing for carriage horses, will @NYCCouncil finally protect them? cc: @CoreyinNYC pic.twitter.com/EzSgvxoCkb
The beautiful brown horse named Aisha was dragged onto a trailer and removed from the scene to be euthanized only hours later. The pain she was in and the fear she felt is not worth a tourist’s whimsy.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said while campaigning to become mayor in 2013 that he promised to ban horse-drawn carriages on his first day as mayor but, he failed to do so instead giving in to pressure from the carriage drivers and their allies.
Now de Blasio is calling on the Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad to look into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The shocking footage sparked protests attended by several dozen people prompting the Mayor’s office to make a statement.
“We’re wholeheartedly committed to protecting the welfare of carriage horses and have the record to match,” a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said
Barbaric displays of animal cruelty belong in the past especially such blatant and easily unnecessary ones like horse-drawn carriages.
Even non-vegans can see the horror and cruelty behind something that shouldn’t be in our modern era.
Hopefully, with the Chicago ban, we are rounding a corner in the fight against the injustice and disgusting display of animal abuse. If current events are any measure New York City will hopefully be next on the list.
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