Protesters demand end to Montreal's caleche industry
While the appeal of Montreal’s caleche is the harkening back to a simpler past, opponents gathered in front of city on Sunday to demand Mayor Denis Coderre look to the future and ban the horse-drawn carriages.
“It’s a barbaric form of entertainment,” said protester Sylvia Kump. “I mean, we have to evolve, Montreal has to evolve.”
A collision between a caleche horse and a car that was caught on tape on Thursday has re-raised questions on the future of the industry.
Caleche driver insist their business is already strictly regulated and animals well-taken care of.
“Lots of vets are checking the horses really regularly and inspectors regularly come to see us,” said driver Philippe, who didn’t give his last name. “For the accident, it’s very, very, very rare.”
He added that many of the horses are used to walking in the city and thrive on attention from tourists.
“It’s lovely for people to see the way things with these horses,” he said. “They’re our heritage, really.”
Projet Montreal is calling for an inquiry into this week’s incident and wants the driver’s permit revoked.
“I think it’s time now that the city of Montreal finally takes action and does something about this industry,” said Projet Montreal city councillor Sterling Downey. “We’re clearly not capable of controlling the industry.”
Coderre has said he is waiting for a report on the caleche industry and once he has a chance to review it, all options are on the table.