Starting on January 1, 2021, horse-drawn carriages could be banned from the streets of Chicago. Ordinance O2019-4125—which halts the issue of new licenses and bans operators from renewing existing licenses, which expire at the end of the year—was unanimously cleared by the City Council’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection Committee. The final vote will go to Chicago’s City Council on March 18. Jodie Wiederkehr, Executive Director of animal-rights group Chicago Alliance for Animals, was involved in pushing the ban because she believes exploiting horses for transportation and entertainment is archaic and inhumane, and she is optimistic that the bill will pass City Council so that the horses will no longer have to suffer. Last year alone, 334 violations were issued to operators for forcing horses to work through extreme weather conditions and not giving them enough rest and water. “We still have a lot of work to do [and] we will do everything we can to get these horses the sanctuary they deserve,” Wiederkehr posted on Facebook. “We will be reaching out to the owners and offering our help to find these horses loving forever homes. Obviously, [the carriage operators] don’t like us much, but hopefully, they’ll love their horses enough to do the right thing and allow them to retire and have the natural life they so richly deserve after giving years, if not decades, working on Chicago’s streets.” If Chicago bans horse-drawn carriages, it would follow other cities that have bans, including Salt Lake City, UT; Biloxi, MS; Camden, NJ; and several cities in Florida.
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