Citing safety, sanitation and animal cruelty concerns, Alderman Ed Burke, 14th Ward, has proposed that the Chicago City Council act to outlaw the horse-drawn carriage rides.
"Carriage rides have outlived their usefulness in Chicago in 2014," Alderman Burke said. "I would argue it is an unsafe and obsolete tradition that our city should simply ban."
Under the legislation, the city would refuse to renew any existing horse-drawn carriage license, effectively ending the industry. The proposal was introduced before the Chicago City Council on the heels of a vow by newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park. The New York City Council is awaiting introduction of that legislation.
In Chicago, horse-drawn carriage rides are currently restricted to operating in certain areas of the city and are banned from operating during rush hour. Horses are required to wear diapers and carriages are also forbidden from operating when the weather is too hot or cold.
"Despite all of these rules and regulations, the larger question still remains as to whether horse-drawn carriages should operate at all in Chicago, " Alderman Burke said. "It is my goal, at a minimum, to begin that discussion."
Alderman Burke said he began looking into the issue after he was contacted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.