Jodie Wiederkehr, executive director of the Chicago Alliance for Animals

by | May 6, 2020

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Stay at Home order, I produced and recorded this show remotely from home, the fourth program prepared this way at the Talking Animals corporate headquarters in Jupiter Farms, Florida, and likely the way the broadcast will come together for the next few weeks.

Jodie Wiederkehr—who, as executive director of the Chicago Alliance for Animals (CAA), spearheaded the campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in Chicago, which mere days before this interview, succeeded—describes what CAA is and some of its other campaigns in Chicago, and ones they assisted with in other parts of the country. Wiederkehr addresses why and how the horse carriage issue became CAA’s central focus, noting a factor, for her, is the personal kinship she feels with horses. She outlines the intricacies of the  campaign, brimming with painstaking tasks (including documenting that the horses were being worked far more than the allowed number of daily hours, which involved CAA members—all volunteers—spending 12 or more hours per day on site), political machinations aplenty, encouraging developments, tentative agreements, dashed hopes…and, finally, the horse-carriage ban that the Chicago City Council voted April 24 to approve in a lopsided victory for CAA, others who supported the ban, and the horses. Wiederkehr refutes the slice of criticism from opponents—mostly, owners of horse-carriage businesses—that the ban, which goes into effect beginning next year—will mean the horses being sent to slaughter. The conversation also touches on the other cities that, like Chicago now, have banned horse-drawn carriages…and analyzing the prospects of New York City passing a ban. Wiederkehr also briefly mentions The Partnership to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages Worldwide, which offers guidance, resources, and support for those worldwide seeking to pursue bans in their cities.  (,,,

ALSO: I spoke with John Doe, singer-songwriter-cofounder of the band X, which just released a new album, “Alphabetland,” the first by the original line-up in 35 years. Doe talks about why he thinks the new record turned out to be a barn-burning bonanza, including a shift in how the band handles songwriting credits, sharing them equally among the four members.  We discussed the sudden (well, expedited) release of “Alphabetland,” the making of the album’s first video, “Water & Wine,” tentative touring plans, and horses. (,,



COMEDY CORNER:  Tim Harmston’s “Seagull” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Fela Kuti’s “No Agreement” (portion…R.I.P., Tony Allen), instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  The Rolling Stones’ “Monkey Man”


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