Montreal Bans Cruel Horse-Drawn Carriages

Beginning on New Year’s Eve 2019, horses will no longer be forced to pull passengers across the cobblestone streets of the Canadian city.

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Officials in Montreal, Canada recently passed a ban on horse-drawn carriages (known as “caleches”) that requires operators to cease the cruel practice by December 31, 2019. “It’s something we promised in our campaign very clearly,” City Councillor Craig Sauve said. “There have been cases of horses being mistreated, horses dying while doing their caleche activities. There’s issues there and it’s a lot of resources we have to put in on the city’s side, so we decided in the campaign that we’re going to put an end to this industry.” The ban comes after continued campaigns against caleches by animal-rights group Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and political party Projet Montreal. While the practice has been allowed to continue for centuries in the Canadian city, recent social media attention of the cruelty involved—where horses collapse from exhaustion and are forced to work in inclement weather—have changed public opinion about horse-drawn carriages. Projet Montreal leader and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante hopes to replace caleches with modern electric vehicles. Stateside, animal-rights group and celebrities, including vegan music legend Russell Simmons, have campaigned for years to retire New York City’s horse-drawn carriages but have not found success with the local government.