Poor Carriage Horse Charlot doesn’t deserve this…In some cities around the world, Carriage Horse are still being used to pull carriages today. Unfortunately, the horses often suffer from being overworked and collapse in exhaustion, just like Charlot. Charlot was a carriage horse in Old Montreal, who suddenly started to heave in exhaustion after giving a ride to passengers.
Carriage Horse heaved for awhile while standing on the side of the cobblestone street before finally collapsing of exhaustion. His collapse garnered attention from passerbys, who contacted the SPCA for help. But it was already too late to save the horse. By the time the SPCA arrived, Carriage Horse Charlot had already passed away on the streets of Old Montreal.
This summer, the city had announced plans to ban the carriages or calèches by December next year due to a long-running history of animal welfare violations. After this incident, proponents say the ban can’t come soon enough. A coordinator for the Anti-calèche Defense Coalition named Mirella Colalillo stated: “Nobody is overseeing the situation. It’s good that there is going to be a ban in a year, but in the meantime, nobody is protecting the horses and the laws are not being enforced.”
According to Colalillo, it is now harder than ever to keep track and document welfare concerns in this industry as the city has not kept the advocacy groups up-to-date on the records of each individual horse that the companies own. She also said that the company owners change the horses’ names on a regular basis to make it harder for groups to keep track of them. Charlot’s death has also grabbed the attention of Valérie Plante, the mayor, who said : “You made the right decision. The calèche industry has no place in Montreal anymore”.
Not only the horses endure the physical stress of pulling carriages for up to nine hours everyday, they also face potential collisions with cars. They also had to endure extreme temperatures and loud noises which can cause them to bolt, endangering themselves and other people. When they are not working, they are often left tied in stalls with no option to walk or graze freely. According to the Montreal SPCA, most of the horses who have outlived their usefulness are auctioned, slaughtered or suffer the same fate as Carriage Horse Charlot.
Should you see a calèche horse that looks sick, injured or mistreated, please contact the police. Colalillo is also trying to encourage people to write-in personally to André Lamontagne, who is the current minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to urge him to protect calèche horses like Carriage Horse Charlot.
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