Group rallies against 'cruel' horse-drawn caleches

A group of animal-rights activists demands Montreal follow suit with Paris and London in banning the use of horse-drawn carriages.
A group of animal-rights activists is demanding that Montreal take an example from London and Paris and ban horse-drawn carriages, known as caleches. (CBC)

A group of animal-rights activists is seeking a ban on Montreal's iconic horse-drawn caleches.

A dozen activists rallied in the Old Port on Saturday, saying the mode of transportation subjects horses to cruel working conditions.

"I find it dangerous, I find it arcane, I find it cruel, I find it useless," said Alexandra Marier, a spokesperson for the group.

Dominique Pelletier, a caleche driver, said horses were a crucial part of the city's development, yet horses lost their jobs over time. She believes the caleches help tell a bit about Montreal's history.

"I mean, we do have work conditions set out for them. We give them plenty of rest and plenty of water," Pelletier said.

"There are bylaws that say our horses can't work more than nine hours a day. They have day shifts and night shifts, and when it's too hot they can't go out," she added.

The anti-caleches group continues to believe these working conditions are poor for horses and is calling on the city to follow suit with London and Paris, both of which have banned horse-drawn carriages.