Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calèche Horses Still Abused

This is an article that dates back to November 1991. Today the by-laws are still mostly concerned with fees and routes and the horses are still abused. The city never will be a place for a horse.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Natural Habitat of Horses

Horses have evolved to graze nearly constantly on grass. They prefer to be surrounded by wide open spaces and a blanket of grass. They could spend almost 20 hours a day as nomadic grazers. Horses live in herds in the wild with approximately a dozen horses in each group. Since horses are prey animals, they defend themselves in the wild by running away from predators such as mountain lions and wolves, therefore they prefer to live in areas that are widely open. Even domesticated horses will avoid spaces that are mostly closed in and choose shelters that only have one wall or a roof.

Their natural habitat is anywhere they have once roamed wild: prairies, forests, mountains, grasslands, steppes.

Horses need access to shelter (a runout shelter or a barn), a continual supply of water (either buckets/tubs that you fill or a natural pond or stream), hay or grass that is always available, and herd mates (other horses). They also need attention to their health, hooves, and grooming needs.

References: "Complete Book of Horses and Riding"; Judith Draper, Debby Sly, Sarah Muir; 2003 
For the calèche horses in Montréal the situation is quite different -- the horses live in a building that was supposed to be destroyed this spring for insalubrity, as you can see in these photos. (click on them to view)

Just something to think about before you take your tour de calèche à Montréal...
Join us on Facebook!
And don't miss the film "Saving America's Horses"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Calèches Working in the Heat

The calèches were out and working today at 1 p.m. -- it was already 31°C and the humidex at 43%. It felt like 37°C. The Police and the inspectors have been informed and hopefully serious action will be taken towards the drivers. As I was taking these pictures, I was verbally assaulted by the drivers and an owner. It's appalling to know that these horses are in the hands of such violent and vulgar people. If they were hoping to discourage me, it didn't work -- now I'm even more driven.

 This calèche driver above actually offered me a tour ride, when I kindly inquired about whether he was leaving...

“An owner operator may not leave a horse hitched to a vehicle between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. when the outside air temperature, as determined by Environment Canada at the Dorval Weather Office, reaches or exceeds 30°C”

If you witness anything:
1)TAKE THE  NUMBER OF THE CALECHE (it's on the plate at the back of the caleche)
3)CONTACT THE EMERGENCY NUMBERS (you'll find them on the right of this blog)
4)TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOS (send them to the emails on the right and to us as well)

Thank you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Horses Jazzed Up for the Fest

Filming this video today was heart-breaking, as you can see. Yet, this is how the horses are fed -- with a bucket hanging over their heads. Not to mention I was in the calèche pick-up area for a while and no water was in sight the whole time.
Furthermore, the horses are being over-worked more than usual this week-end, as many tourists swarm the city for the Jazz Fest.
It's even more saddening to see that the children are not being taught by their parents how abusive this industry is. But actually put them in danger should the horse get spooked. In this case they could be flung out and injured at the least, as has occurred in the past.
Also notice that the by-law allows not more than 1 person per seat. There are more than that in this calèche and even more in the one passing by in the background.

The horses and the calèches are ridiculously adorned for the occasion, but that certainly  doesn't make the reality any more beautiful for the horses.

Please, if you witness anything speak up, takes pictures, videos and send them to us. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The by-law needs to be changed

These are some pictures and a video that I took today in Old Montréal. Click on them to view.
It was very hot and humid this afternoon in Old Montréal - the temperatures reached and exceeded 30°C between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. although it felt like 40°C with the humidex.

Sadly, the calèches were out on the streets as the by-law 
concerning horse-drawn carriages states:
“An owner operator may not leave a horse hitched to a vehicle between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. when the outside air temperature, as determined by Environment Canada at the Dorval Weather Office, reaches or exceeds 30°C”.


The problem with the by-law is:
1) the temperature in Old Montréal exceeds that of Dorval. Which means when it's 30°C in Dorval, it's a least a couple of degrees higher in Old Montréal...just like today.
2) and that the humidex is not even factored in. 

The by-law obviously needs to be changed for the horses' well-being. Luckily, few tourists were in sight and none were lined up for a calèche ride due to the high temperatures.

Let's not sit and watch as another horse dies!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Help Ban the Calèches in Montréal

The picture on the flyer is of the calèche horse, Jim, euthanised on the streets of Québec City in July 2010. It was not the first time that Jim collapsed due to extreme fatigue.

June 4th is Horses Without Carriages International Day.
Please help spread the awareness by forwarding the flyer above 
to everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Song for Horses

Willie Nelson, along with many family members, has released a song to help horses through the Animal Welfare Institute. Willie wrote on the AWI website, “I’m a little prejudiced when it comes to horses. I have always loved them. I currently have about 68; 25-30 were rescued directly from slaughter. I got involved 8 years ago, when AWI first made me aware that American horses are being slaughtered and shipped overseas for human consumption. It’s a shame horses – or any animal – be treated this way when horses are the foundation of America. Horses were a way to travel to get to where we are today, and it is our job to protect them.” (Source:
The proceeds from the 99 cent song to help the horses and  halt the roundups  will go to AWI. It can be purchased on CD Baby, and Apple iTunes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Modernization not carriage industry revival!

A recent article on a local paper suggests that the horse-drawn carriage industry needs revival. Montréal does not need to revive the horse-drawn carriage industry but to revive its image as a modern city. It is not 1861 anymore and horses, these sensitive creatures who have served humankind since the dawn of time, do not belong in the traffic where they are easily spooked by the noises and overworked for tourism. There is nothing romantic about an industry based on exploitation!

Below is the article and here is the original in French.
Please leave them a comment on the paper's website opposing their "revival plans".

A heritage to preserve : coachmen, carriages and horses in Old Montreal
I pass by the horse-drawn carriages everyday. I hear them happily passing under my window. I love to hear the sound of the lovely horse trots.

Therefore, I wanted to know more about their presence in our neighbourhood. One nice Sunday in January at sunset, the coachwoman has us warmly seated in the carriage. We are the typical winter calèche goers: skaters of Bassin Bonsecours returning to their cars, parents with their children discovering this ancestral locomotion system, lovers taking a romantic ride. Everyone is there: we talk about working as a coachman,  the love for the horses, the current state of the industry, and of its role in  the historic character of Old Montreal. A pleasant conversation which confirms the information already obtained as part of my research on the subject.
About forty horses criss-cross the neighbourhood. They are housed mostly in three stables, Lucky Luke and Écurie de Montréal enr., both located southwest of the city, and the Horse Palace, nestled in Griffintown since 1862. At the request of the owners, the number of licenses for carriages from 2006 to 2010 decreased from 48 to 24. Unfortunately, the decrease in the number of carriages did not increase the traffic or revenue for each of the drivers, "since it is often after seeing a carriage circulate that people decide to go for a ride ."

Projects to revive this heritage
All interviewees complained that the coach industry is deteriorating, especially in Old Montreal. But all is not lost, plans to give new life to this heritage are emerging.
For example, the Foundation of the Horse Palace of Griffin was created in 2009 in order to save this industry, witness of the carriages in the district southwest of Montreal for over a century. It seeks to acquire all of the buildings offered for sale by its owner recently turning eighty: the house of the mid-nineteenth century, the old inn for travelers, the stables in use for nearly 150 years. It plans to restore everything and add a museum on the history of the working-class neighborhood of Griffin. The horses will then enjoy a more operational environment after spending the day drawing carriages in Old Montreal. A metamorphosis that is required because everything is in bad shape yet.

Another project, still on the drawing board, does not leave indifferent. It aims to create a recreational center in honor of the horses in the Old Port: this is one of the proposals under consideration in the redevelopment of the Pointe-du-Moulin and the Silo No. 5, a relic of the early twentieth century and the glorious past of a grain operation in the port. The multifunctional complex is proposed based on sharing the love of horses and concern for their protection as heritage for the image of Montreal. As an indication, it would include a stable open to the public, an amusement park with rides for children, a museum exhibiting carriages and recounting the history of the evolution of the presence of horses in our landscape since their first appearance, the circulation of horse trams in Montreal in 1861 ...
Meanwhile, attending the fate of these projects, why not take a horse-drawn carriage ride for Valentine's Day ...