The man is Ethan Abbott, also known as “Ethan the Farmer,” and founder of Just Us Riders. Abbott is walking his alpaca, named Shay, on a leash around various cities to bring awareness to the corporatization of the American government and the loss of the family farm system.
Shay, who is highly-trained, was unperturbed in her sightseeing around the Windy City, even as onlookers gawked and incorrectly shouted “Look, a llama!”
Despite the fun and whimsy of bringing alpacas to the big city, Abbott has a more serious reason for traveling with farm animals: what he describes as the “corporate corruption” in government that is damaging the family farm system.
“We are rapidly being victims of hostile take over by large agricultural and chemical corporations,” Abbott told Chicagoist, “These corporations often use their close ties with the government to manipulate the law and the other officials to force small family farmers out of business, in many cases using the guise that they are ‘there to help.’”
There is a man downtown walking a llama on a leash....— Ben A. Savage (@courtneymahia) May 25, 2016
I saw a man walking a Llama today downtown. Random.— Jerrell (@rell324) May 25, 2016
This dude is really out here in downtown Cleveland walking his llama pic.twitter.com/KqlgGe3Kr9— Supreme God (@quinnythep000) May 24, 2016