Videos prompt renewed calls to ban horse-drawn carriages in Quebec
Two incidents involving horse-drawn carriages in Quebec City on Saturday are renewing calls for politicians to ban the practice.
Video footage shows a horse struggling to stand and falling onto hard pavement. A team of people, including a veterinarian, eventually got the horse back on its feet.
A second video shows a crumpled carriage, also known as a caleche, lying on its side at the bottom of a grassy hill. The driver of that carriage lost control and was treated for minor injuries.
In both cases, the horses appeared to have tripped over the edge of a sidewalk. CTV Montreal reports that the horses were given Sunday off to rest.
Animal welfare advocate Alanna Devine, who works for the Montreal SPCA, said she supports banning horse-drawn carriages, following the path of cities like London, Paris and Toronto.
Devine said she expects Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations to lead to even more caleche accidents than normal.
“We know horses are prone to spooking with loud noises, lots of action, lots of movement,” she said.
Last May, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre tried to ban caleches for one year but a judge struck down the order, ruling that the city did not have jurisdiction.
Some tourists and residents in Montreal said Sunday that they support the push for a ban, while others weren’t convinced that the animals are mistreated.
Luc Desparois, owner of Lucky Luke Stables, watched the videos and said that it isn’t clear whether the drivers did anything wrong.
“It could have been anything,” he said. “It could have been a piece of the harness that wasn’t properly put … something bugged the horse, spooked the horse, we never know.”
After a 2015 incident in which one of Desparois’ horses tripped on a street gate and fell onto asphalt, Desparois said that an inexperienced carriage driver was to blame.
Association Terriens, a Montreal non-profit, is planning a protest against the caleche industry on May 27.
With a report from CTV Montreal