Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=210639
Story Retrieval Date: 12/8/2013 6:33:15 PM CST
Horse-drawn carriages aren’t PETA’s only target in Chicago. The animal rights group opposes all horses in cities — that includes mounted units for police departments, said Ryan Huling, a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Huling said mounted police units pose similar problems.
“I think it’s another example of an outmoded form of transportation,” adding that people are now “in the 21st century.”
“Unfortunately when it comes to police departments, they often put the animals in harm’s way,” he said.
Officer Joe Cistaro, who trains horses for the Chicago Police Department’s Mounted Unit, said the unit rides breeds of horses that are naturally less skittish, and trains them to not fear crowds. He added that horses are often needed for crowd control, to improve officers’ vantage point in potentially dangerous situations.
Cistaro added that horses are able to travel where cars cannot — an advantage for mobility across beaches or parks.
The Mounted Unit website lists other advantages for its use of horses.
“They are Ambassadors of Good Will and encourage approachability by members of the public, since many people love animals or are curious about horses,” and for crowd management, “eliminating face to face confrontation between a citizen and a police officer, providing a calming effect on crowds in tense situations, and providing a strong police force multiplier since one mounted patrol officer equals 10 footed police officers,” according to the website.