‘Now Is the Time to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages,’ PETA Tells Mayor

Pending Legislation Could Stop Companies From Renewing Licenses to Force Overworked Horses to Pull Heavy Loads in All Weather Extremes

For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Chicago – This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter asking Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help horses by passing O2019-4125—which would ban horse-drawn carriages in the city—before the carriage companies’ licenses are renewed in November.

PETA notes that on October 19, Chicago Alliance for Animals documented that five horses were overworked by the carriage industry—and accidents are common when high-strung horses meet city traffic. In one incident, five people—including four children—were injured when an SUV rear-ended a horse-drawn carriage in Chicago.

“Horses in Chicago’s horse-drawn carriage industry have been found with open sores, forced to work in the extreme summer heat, and subjected to searing exhaust fumes day in and day out,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging Mayor Lightfoot to ban these archaic tourist traps now, before horses have to suffer through one more season pounding the pavement.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Mayor Lightfoot follows.

October 28, 2019

The Honorable Lori Lightfoot

Mayor of Chicago

Dear Mayor Lightfoot,

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including nearly 40,000 in Chicago—we urge you to help horses by passing O2019-4125, which would ban horse-drawn carriages in the city, before companies have their licenses renewed in November.

Animal welfare and public safety concerns are rampant in this cruel industry, especially in Chicago. Recently, a horse was taken off the streets after he was found with open sores on his legs and he was limping. According to Chicago Alliance for Animals, horses were forced to work in extreme heat in the summer and are overworked in all seasons, including just last week—Saturday, October 19—when five horses were reportedly overworked. Chicago’s horse-drawn carriage companies disregard the law, racking up hundreds of legal violations and thousands of dollars in fines.

Horse-drawn carriages are dangerous in modern cities like Chicago, putting horses, residents, and tourists at risk. Many accidents, injuries, and even deaths have occurred after horses became startled and ran amok. In Chicago, at least five people—including four children—were injured when an SUV rear-ended a horse-drawn carriage, and just this year in Savannah, Georgia, seven people were taken to the hospital with injuries after a horse got spooked by construction noise, galloped out of control, and fell. Please see this factsheet for dozens of other examples of the dangers of having horse-drawn carriages on the road.

As more than half the members of the Chicago City Council support this humane and progressive measure, your compassionate decision to ban horse-drawn carriage rides would be praised by millions of Chicagoans and tourists who love animals and yearn for this cruel and archaic practice to end. Please, help keep animals and the public safe by following the lead of cities across the country, including Breckenridge, Colorado; Palm Beach, Florida; and Salt Lake City, which have already banned these operations.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind