Ban Cruel Horse Drawn Carriage Rides


Target: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Goal: Ban inhumane horse drawn carriages in Chicago and retire horses to suitable habitats.

In Chicago, horses are used to pull carriages for entertainment purposes in dangerous and unpredictable conditions. They are fitted with uncomfortable harnesses and forced to perform among traffic, noisy trains, and mobs of pedestrians in a cramped space. This type of stimulation is frightening for a horse and can easily cause them to panic, resulting in injury to themselves or others.

Horses are just as likely to experience heat stroke, dehydration, and frostbite as people. Despite this, they are forced to work long hours in often dangerous weather conditions. The weather in Chicago can fall below zero in the winter and rise to over 100 degrees in the summer. Rain, sleet, and snow are common. All of these factors put the horse at risk.

Horse carriages travel slowly and often pass through busy intersections. At the very least they disrupt the flow of traffic during peak hours. More importantly, their presence on the road is a traffic hazard and has resulted in traffic accidents. Most recently, in 2014, a car hit the back of a carriage, resulting in injuries to both the people involved and the horse.

Lastly, when horses are no longer able to perform, they are often euthanized instead of being placed in a suitable home. Imagine never being able to experience the peace and comfort of a loving home. This affectionate and devoted animal deserves better.

By signing below, you will encourage Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ban horse drawn carriage rides in Chicago and ensure the safety and comfort of our horses.


Dear Mayer Emanuel,

Horse drawn carriages have proven to be a hazard both to the horses and the citizens of Chicago. The horse is forced to work in inhumane conditions and disrupts traffic and pedestrian flow, often causing unnecessary accidents.

Carriage horses are forced to work in noisy, cramped, and volatile work environments. They are subjected to dangerous weather conditions and unpredictable pedestrian and vehicle traffic. They are responsible for numerous accidents and disrupt the flow of traffic in the city’s busiest intersections. Ultimately, if these horses do make it into retirement, they are often euthanized instead of being moved to a loving home.

Please take action and ban horse drawn carriages in the city of Chicago. Join Biloxi, Mississippi, Camdon, New Jersey, and the host of other cities that have already banned this inhumane practice. Chicago has an abundance of entertainment to offer without putting the welfare of horses on the line.


[Your name here]

Photo credit: Isabelle13

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  1. As far as I heard the past few years is that some of the horses that were retired were supposed to go to a sanctuary but were sent to slaughter instead so you can’t trust anything. that The only way that I would trust a sanctuary is to inspect it myself and then check into its background and the people running it.
    As calm and gentle as these animals are I would think it would be a easy job to retrain them to be used as a kid’s horse or a older adult that just wanted a nice horse that didn’t spook at every noise to be trained as a trail horse. To be out on a mountain trail where there is no traffic or noise I think would work wonders for any of these horses it would be like a permanent vacation.

  2. Obiakor micheal says:

    Stop those motherfucker

  3. I see these carriages on Chicago Ave almost every day on my way to work. It’s so dangerous. If Rahm doesn’t want to end this for the sake of the animals, maybe he’ll consider it to alleviate inconveniencing drivers and pedestrians. People cram their cars between lanes, barely missing hitting the horses. There are people walking, riding bicycles, driving like maniacs…it’s very chaotic! I can actually imagine how stressed they must be because I know how frustrated I get driving in it. Come on, Rahm. Stop this antiquated practice.

  4. Please do the right thing and treat these highly thought of animals with the love and compassion they deserve

  5. For how long is this cruel, medieval practice going to continue in a civilized, modern country?

  6. Catherine Grady says:

    I did NOT sign this petition. As a responsible horse owner I know that banning carriage rides is not the answer. Regulating the carriage owners, managing the working horses treatment humanely (i.e. food & water breaks, reasonable schedule, days off, etc.) and finding ways to mitigate horse/vehicle collisions (carriage only lanes, restricted hours, restricted routes) is the only logical humane answer.
    Have you given any thought to what will happen to working horses if you ban their job? They will, unfortunately, end up going to slaughter. That’s a fact. Is that what you want? Is that really preferable to them working? Don’t think some rescue will step in to ‘save’ them. Rescues are already overcrowded and underfunded due to the constant overbreeding of horses. There are simply more horses produced each year than can find loving homes and jobs. Speaking of jobs, horses prefer to have one. They take pride in having a job to do, whether it’s pulling a carriage or a plow, competing in the show circuit, or carrying a rider on a trail. Our older ‘retired’ horse gets jealous when his younger pasture mates get loaded in the trailer to go to the arena or out on a trail. He’s been known to try to load himself and go along. We have to hop on his back occasionally for a brief ride, both for his ego and his mental wellbeing. He needs to feel useful, that he still has a job to do.
    Getting back to the subject at hand… The carriage industry CAN be handled both humanely and profitably for the benefit of both the working horses and the human tourists who love the opportunity to take a carriage ride, to slow down and reconnect with our past. Beaufort, South Carolina, is a perfect example. The historic area has narrow streets and a speed limit of only 25. Horses have the right-of-way. Both visiting tourists and locals understand and respect that. Drivers are considerate and conscientious. The carriage companies have voluntarily submitted to regulation by the city, in part to avoid being accused of any so-called animal abuse. Each individual horse works no more than 4 days a week. They spend their ‘off’ days on a farm in the countryside, grazing at will and living the good life. Upon eventual retirement they live out their lives on the same farm. On their work days 2 separate teams of horse, carriage & driver handle each route. While one team takes tourists on a narrated tour to see the sights, the other horse rests in the shade in front of a water trough and has its vital signs checked. If they get too hot or their respirations are labored they’re done for the day. When it gets too hot (above 95°) all carriage activity stops, the same thing if it were to get too cold, or if there’s any threat of severe weather. The system works splendidly. The horses are happy, the operators are happy, and so are the tourists who enjoy being able to step back in time and experience what life was like in the past. Kids who have no other access to horses love being able to pet them and feed them treats while the horses are at rest. The carriage rides are an added attraction in a charming town. If other cities would follow their example I believe cases of carriage horse ‘abuse’ would be reduced to next to none.
    If all the people who are working to get the carriage horse industry banned would instead turn their attention to promoting reasonable and humane regulation for the industry horses lives would be saved…and isn’t that the whole point??

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