LETTERS: No justification for city ban on horse-drawn carriages

SHARE LETTERS: No justification for city ban on horse-drawn carriages
horse_cst_050313_38883271.jpg

Carriage driver Rich Capalbo and his horse “Fredo” turn onto Chicago Ave. from Michigan Ave., on March 30, 2011. l Sun-Times Library

The Horsemen’s Council of Illinois represents the $3.5 billion horse industry in the state of Illinois, its 64,000 horse owners and over 192,000 horses.

As the state expert on all issues regarding the horse, we strongly oppose the most recent ordinance introduced by Alds. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Brendan Reilly (42nd) that would allow all horse-drawn carriage operator licenses to expire and will not renew them, effectively banning carriage horses from the downtown area. Aldermen Reilly and Hopkins are also considering relegating horse-drawn carriages to lakefront area parks. HCI disputes the unsubstantiated proposition that using horse-drawn carriages in the city is a form of cruelty to the horses. There is simply no justification for this contention, aside from the views of the extreme animal rights activists that believe all animal use is cruel.

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The horse-drawn carriage trade is highly regulated, and the animals that work it are well cared for. Their working conditions are not physically or psychologically taxing for a horse. Repeated inspections of the horses and their stables have yielded no humane issues. The safety record of horse drawn carriages in Chicago is exemplary; pedestrians assume far greater risk walking the streets of the city than do these horses. For horses, as for humans, w-o-r-k is not a four-letter word and it does not equate to cruelty.

The proposed ordinance would not only eliminate a very popular and charismatic form of tourism for the city of Chicago, it also would eliminate jobs and reduce tax revenue to the city and the state and it would have far reaching, less tangible impacts to our urban society.

Illinois is an agricultural state, ranking the fifth most productive in our nation. Our urban communities have largely lost touch with our state’s and nation’s agrarian roots. Horses are the only livestock animals left in our cities. By eliminating horses from our cities, we are depriving our children and their children from one of life’s visceral joys — the touch, the smell, the pure emotional power of knowing a horse.

In a time when most city dwellers fail to understand where their food comes from, or the essential interconnectedness of nature to the health of our planet and the ultimate survival of our species, do we really want to eliminate their last link? If there is true concern for the welfare of carriage horses, rather than eliminating Chicago’s equine ambassadors from its streets, why not appoint a panel of true equine experts to evaluate the humane treatment of your city’s horses? Find out the real truth behind the care and treatment of these animals. . Don’t eliminate our equine ambassadors for our streets.

Paula Briney, president,

Sheryl King, Ph.D, Past President

Horsemen’s Council of Illinois

Ban horse carriages

On behalf of the Chicago Alliance for Animals’ (CAA) nearly 700 members, I want to thank Ald. Brian Hopkins, Ald. Raymond Lopez and Ald. Brendan Reilly for introducing a humane ordinance to ban Chicago’s horse carriages. This is great news and would make the Windy City more progressive.

CAA has documented Chicago’s horse carriage companies breaking Chicago’s law on numerous occasions. We have video footage that shows drivers overworking the horses, sometimes longer than 12 hours, which is double the amount of time the horses are allowed to work. We’ve also documented drivers working the horses when it’s been 90 degrees or higher, not providing water and many other violations which have resulted in $8,500 in fines this year alone. Reilly has been quoted saying, “We want to protect these horses,” but has also suggested moving the horses into the parks. Since the regulations, which were created with the input of veterinarians and equine experts, are not followed by the carriage companies nor enforced by the city, the only way to protect these horses is a complete ban.

Jodie Wiederkehr, Campaign Director Chicago Alliance for Animals

New motto

Government of the people, by the depraved, for the rich.

Greg Stone, Elgin

Republican ‘entitlement’

For many years Republicans had complained about the “entitlement” programs fostered by the Democratic Party. It appears that it is now time for the Republicans to look in the mirror the next time the term is used. The proposed tax bill the want to pass is nothing more than a way to put even more wealth into the hands of the wealthiest people in this country. Why? Because these millionaires and billionaires believe they are entitled to it.

Never mind that it will balloon the national debt and eventually pass the economic burden of government onto the middle and working classes. Again the argument that this tax structure will create new jobs has never been shown to be true, and this time would be no exception. The wealthy will simply pocket the money saved from the taxes they will not have to pay.

House Speaker Ryan has openly admitted that Congress will subsidize this tax cut for the wealthy by going after programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, hurting those who need these programs the most. But it doesn’t end there. The Republicans believe they are entitled to determine who may enter this country, and if some who are here are going to be able to remain here (DACA). Governors like Scott Walker and Bruce Rauner believe they are entitled to interfere in labor practices by hamstringing labor unions efforts to negotiate a sustainable living wage for workers which results in lower wages and increased tax burdens on workers while businesses see ever increasing profits. And they are taking these actions simply because they believe they are entitled to take these actions.

Maybe Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, realize that there are some things that all Americans are entitled to and are willing to at least try to do something ensure that we all get the benefits of what America offers and not just the wealthy 2 percent.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

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