Montreal will adopt a new bylaw that bans horse-drawn carriages within the city limits, The Globe and Mail reports. The last day that carriages will be permitted is December 31, 2019.
“Montreal is saying it’s time to move past the calèche industry,” said city councilor Craig Sauvé in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “When I see [the calèche horses] after a long time and they’re struggling and they don’t look particularly happy, I feel sorry for them. I say, ‘Is this where we are as a society?'”
The new bylaw emerged amid growing concerns for animal welfare among Montreal residents. Horse-drawn carriages are considered cruel for a number of reasons. The animals are forced to pull heavy carriages for extended periods of time, often in extreme heat or cold. Horses forced to work in extreme temperatures often collapse from exhaustion.
Pulling carriages next to noisy vehicles is not only stressful but also causes health issues for the animals. Exhaust fumes from cars are known to cause upper respiratory issues and long days hauling carriages on hard surfaces can lead to other medical issues such as arthritis. Horse-drawn carriages are not safe from collisions either and have been involved in accidents that injure both humans and the animal. Not to mention, the act of lugging people in a heavy carriage is not a natural behavior for any horse, nor does it benefit their wellbeing.
In lieu of Montreal’s horse-drawn carriage ban, Sauvé suggested replacing the city’s iconic claèches with an electric alternative. NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets), a New York City-based animal rights organization, backs the idea of using electric “horse” carriages.
The bylaw was approved by the Montreal executive committee earlier this week and will be submitted to the city council later this month. It is just one of several new Montreal animal welfare laws brought forward by Mayor Valérie Plante. One proposal includes a breed-neutral approach to dog bites and dangerous dogs, shifting away from the city’s ban on pit bulls.
Montreal will join the city of Barcelona in banning the practice of using horse-drawn carriages.