Yesterday was not a good day for one particular calèche horse. According to an eye witness account, this poor guy slipped and fell on the metal sheets that had been placed over a construction zone on the corner of Notre-Dame O and Peel. Now, those sheets are pretty hard for anyone to navigate, but now imagine being a 1000 lbs, four-legged animal with metal shoes trying to make it across safely...yeah, it's not so easy.
According to the witness, the horse fell about 5 times while trying to get back up, and looked very panicked and completely exhausted - which isn't too surprising considering it was 34 degrees with the humidity yesterday. Some nice passersby and police officers stopped to try to help the horse out but didn't have much luck.
While I understand that horse-drawn carriages are a part of Montreal's history, they don't really serve a purpose anymore, other than to make a little extra money for the city. And the bylaws put in place to "protect" the horses are shockingly lax. The horses are prohibited from working in above-30 degree weather, however, that law can only be enforced by the the city of Montreal and the police, who aren't always on top of it. And in terms of work days, the bylaws state that the horses are only required to have six hours of rest a day. SIX?! That's just a pitiful amount after having to work out in the sun all day long.
Forcing the horses to work on busy roads between cars and crowds is also cause for concern. New York City, which is also known for their horse-drawn carriage rides, has had many an accident because of this exact problem. Hopefully the laws surrounding the calèches will soon change.