June 7, 2017 11:10 am
Updated: June 7, 2017 5:20 pm

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre introduces new rules for horse-drawn carriage rides

WATCH ABOVE: Mayor Denis Coderre introduced new regulations aimed at improving Montreal’s calèche industry by including stricter animal welfare standards and training for drivers. But as Global’s Sarah Volstad reports, not everyone is convinced the rules go far enough.

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A year after Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s failed calèche moratorium, he has stuck to his promise to revisit the way the controversial industry operates.

“The issue here is: we have to protect [the horses],” Coderre said.

The City of Montreal introduced a bylaw Wednesday morning with new rules to regulate practices.

If adopted, they’ll include:

  • a stop in activity once temperatures reach 28 degrees;
  • veterinary exams twice annually;
  • a ten-minute break after every ride;
  • micro-chipping, to track the animals; and
  • a maximum of nine hours in harness.

The bylaw would also impose training for drivers and mandatory uniforms.

“The horses [are] part of our history, it’s part of our heritage,” Coderre said. “We have to make sure that we are protecting first and foremost the horses. That’s why, through the bylaw, we are pretty clear on that one.”

Recent incidents involving calèches have sparked public outrage, including one in Quebec City just last month.

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READ MORE: Petition to ban calèches in Quebec City gets more than 34,000 signatures

The Montreal SPCA isn’t convinced the new measures will prevent accidents of this type, and would like to see the city do away with the horse-drawn carriage once and for all.

“We don’t think that the bylaws are going to address the underlying welfare issues of having horses in a downtown urban core,” said SPCA spokesperson Alanna Devine.

Opposition Councillor Sterling Downey agreed. He feels the new rules are outdated.

“There’s no room in the streets anymore,” he told Global News. “That is not discrediting the place horses played in the history of the construction of this city — they absolutely played a great part in it — but that was before all of this. That was before Grand Prix, that was before the construction.”

WATCH BELOW: Animal rights activists speak out on the dangers of horse-drawn carriages.

As for the calèche drivers, it seems they aren’t completely against the potential legislation.

“I feel that the vet coming over, that’s a great idea, there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Nathalie Matte, who has been driving calèches for over a decade.

However, some feel that some of their autonomy has been stripped away.

“It’s good to be able to let it to the driver to gauge if the horse is in need of something,” calèche driver, Dan Leclair, said.

The new bylaw is set to be tabled on Monday, and voted on sometime in August. That means that, even if passed, it’s unlikely the rules will come into effect this summer season.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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