To Save A Chicago Icon

On February 5, 2014, Alderman Ed Burke stated his intention to ban horse drawn carriages in the city of Chicago: “They’re a nuisance, they’re a traffic hazard, it’s cruel to the animals, and we should be able to beat New York City to the punch,” said Burke, 14th.

chi-waiting-for-carriage-ride-customers-20131113
Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

As concerned drivers, owners, and fans of the horse drawn carriages became aware of Burke’s intentions, a movement began, one to protect the horses from the destruction of their livelihood.

A ban serves no one, potentially creating homeless horses and chicagocarriageunemployed Chicago residents who rely on the carriages for work.

Stay tuned for more…but we will not go quietly into the night.

11 thoughts on “To Save A Chicago Icon”

  1. Let us not forget what a honor the horse has been to mankind over the years. They plowed fields for food for human consumption, led men into battle and sacrificed their lives for us. Let us not forget the horse who was our primary source of transportation until the early 1900’s. Carriage horses are well taken care of and bring joy to hundreds a day, just to see them.

  2. To ban horses from carriage service is a travesty…..these horses are not a threat to anyone, they LOVE their work and they provide an important positive impression of the cities and towns they work in

  3. There is no evidence supporting the banning of any minority in Chicago, including horses. Carriages, their horses and drivers provide a pleasant way to see Chicago and promotes people to returning to the stores they see to become customers. The drivers are Ambassadors of good will for Chicago.

    The same people who imposed rights of equality for all religious, racial and gender-oriented minorities who do well not to sponsor discrimintation against horses and religions that prefer non-motorized vehicles including Amish, Mennonite, Orthodox Jews on Saturdays, and Bretheren.

    These horses teach us to trust, connect and love …. values we seem to be loosing. Often visitors come to Chicago … just to ride the carriage. Other times, they discover Chicago on the ride or River North neighbors show off the area to their guests on the carriage rides.

    They are not unsanitary and comply with all laws passed by the City Counsel. They have diaper bags and usually urinate while stopped at a red light into the sewer. City street cleaners remove this with salt and petro deposits from cars at least once a day or more. That is why the Department of Streets and Sanitation earns us the reputation as the Cleanest Big City in America.

    The job is not cruel to the animals … they love being out and seeing things and connecting with people and each other. They get fed well, have a stall in the city just like at the farm in the country. They get 60 % vacation time in the city and are vet inspected at least every three months getting much more attention if needed. A horse has never been seriously hurt in an automobile accident in Chicago and no pedestrian has suffered any injury.

    The horses do not impede traffic any more than city vehicles such as buses, street sweepers, garbage trucks and Chicago Police stopping vehicles for violations. Before the horses, cabs used to go 50 m.p.h. down Michigan Ave. The horses slowed them down. Most cab drivers come from countries that use and adore street horses.

    The cold weather is not harmful to horses. They wait all summer for the temps to drop below 20 degrees F. because they are warmer with two coast: leather and hairy.

    Please write our good friend Alderman Ed Burke in support of Chicago Horse Carriages that have been here most of the over 40 years that he has served us. eBurke@CityofChicago.org

    Thank you, DON, the horse guy, owner of two retired Percherons

    1. As an animal lover, as I Chicagoan, and even as a fairly frequent motorist in the River North/Mag Mile area, I’d like to add my voice to those calling for the City to allow these horses to continue doing the work for which they’re designed. Doing so is in no way cruel. Consigning them to the glue factory definitely is.

  4. I was a Chicago Carriage Horse Driver and both my horse and I LOVED WHAT WE DID. It is a 34 year old tradition in Chicago-the Chicago streets would not be the same without the Horse Drawn Carriages! The horses love what they are doing -it gives them a purpose and most animals need a purpose to live a very fulfilled life. If you take that purpose away from them ,they lose interest in life and things going on around them. This is just 1 of many reasons to keep Horse Drawn Carriages on the streets everywhere-just not here in Chicago. Please reconsider your vote when it comes to taking the horses off the streets-such a tradition will be lost, the horses needs will have to be considered, and the drivers needs will have to be considered also! My time spent driving a Horse and Carraiage was the best ever-I really bonded well with the horses I worked with as did they with me. You have to in a job like that-you become one and learn to trust one another so there are no surprizes. It’s a job worth doing well and loving doing it.

    1. It is true, the horse teaches us about trust, love and perception. Things we all to often skip in the name of speed, profit and social pressure today. So I hope the alderpersons will leave a little room in their hearts for the foot soldiers who gave us so much in the past and continue to dedicate themselves to our service.

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