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Montreal's Infamous Calèches Are Gone Forever As Of January 1

The ban on calèches was upheld in Montreal courts.
Staff Writer
Montreal's Infamous Calèches Are Gone Forever As Of January 1

A piece of Old Montreal is officially gone forever as Montreal courts officially upheld the ban on calèches. The iconic, yet highly controversial horse-drawn carriages will be no more starting on January 1, 2020. In late 2018, Mayor Valérie Plante promised that 2019 would be the final year that calèches would be allowed to operate in Montreal due to a tightening of the city's animal welfare laws - and she kept her promise.

This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers, including an image of a deceased horse.

The Mayor's plan was met with fierce protest from the owners of the calèches. A stable owner who has more than a dozen animals and buggies appealed to Montreal courts early this month to keep the carriages around for at least one more year. The appeal was dismissed and now they will need to find another source of income. According to TVA Nouvelles, roughly 50 drivers will be out of a job. 

Frustrated drivers had a whole year to figure out another source of employment, however. The city also offered $1,000 per horse to retire the animal. Though they are disappointed, the city afforded them ample time and opportunity to move on from this line of work. 

Montreal's horse-drawn carriages, though beloved by tourists and locals alike have been at the centre of animal rights debates for years. In 2018, a highly-public horse death stirred controversy and initiated the city's drive to ban the practice. 

There were far too many incidents involving horses collapsing from exhaustion or cars colliding with animals for activists to ignore. Drivers who were aggressive with activists or who were caught overworking their animals didn't help their case. 

Though they've been an iconic part of Montreal's image and history, many believed that it was about time for the city to move on from the practice, which is often thought of as a form of cruelty to horses. 

Mayor Plante says that the decision to ban buggies in Montreal was for the "well-being of the animals." The decision is extremely popular with locals. 

READ ALSO:Mayor Plante Says To Call 911 If You See A Homeless Person In Montreal At Risk Of Freezing

Drivers who don't comply with the ban will be subject to fines and infractions. Horses will be retired and sent to various sanctuaries around the province. 

Translation: It's official: December 31, 2019, will mark the end of horse-drawn carriages in Old Montreal. This decision confirms the correctness and relevance of our regulations. Our administration has made the right decision for the welfare of horses.

Voices of support are few and far between, but those that support the practice decry a loss of history and wonder how this will affect tourism in Old Montreal.

Despite the ban, the legal team representing drivers says that their battle to preserve the tradition in Montreal is "not over." 

The tell-tale "clip-clop" of horse-drawn carriages will no longer be heard in Montreal. Perhaps another unique means of transportation will spring up in its place. 

Do you think it's a good idea that the city is banning horse-drawn carriages?

The ban will officially in place as of January 1, 2020. Drivers will need to make plans for next summer right away. 

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