Chicago: Ed Burke Calls for Ban on Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in City

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Edward M. Burke, Alderman of the 14th ward of Chicago, discussed his concerns with the horse carriage business and the ethical treatment of the animals on Wednesday and introduced a proposal that would ban horse-drawn carriages in the city streets.

“They’re a nuisance, they’re a traffic hazard, it’s cruel to the animals,” Burke said, “and we should be able to beat New York City to the punch,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Burke admits he was spurred to propose banning horse carriages at least in part by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vow last month to end the carriage rides in Central Park.

Burke challenged the idea that the carriages are beloved by tourists. “Well, I don’t know that the tourists love cruelty to animals, nor I do know that tourists that don’t ride in the carriages want to be inconvenienced by the traffic jams and the hazards that are created,” he retorted.

Burke said in a news release that he proposed the carriage ban “at a minimum, to begin that discussion” on horse-drawn carriage operators.

The ordinance, which would stop the city from renewing any licenses for horse-drawn carriage operators, got provisional backing from Mayor Rahm Emanuel after Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

“I consider that part about the modernization of our transportation system,” Emanuel joked when asked about the proposal. The mayor then said the move would be “a step forward. Obviously, we’ll have debate and discussion, but I have general support.”

Source: Chicago Tribune