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Horse Carriage Trade Update
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th Jun 2017   •   1,702 views   •   0 comments
Horse drawn carriages come have come under scrutiny again with incidents, bans and protests in Melbourne, Rome, New York, and Montreal.

In Montreal, Canada, calls to end the carriage trade within the city have intensified. Two incidents during the first long weekend of the summer. In one, a horse fell, requiring the assistance of onlookers and a veterinarian to help it regain its feet. In another, a horse tripped and fell, crashing the vehicle it was hitched to after the driver lost control. The driver had to be treated for minor injuries.

Montreal
Last year, the mayor of Montreal tried to put a one-year ban on carriages operating within the city. But the ban was struck down in court. The Montreal Montreal SPCA supports the ban. There are fears that this being the year of Montreal’s 375th anniversary and Canada’s sesquicentennial that more tourists in the city may mean more accidents on the already crowded streets. Both recent incidents were attributed to horses tripping over sidewalk curbs. Protests are being organized for the end of May. An online petition started in 2015 has been revived following the weekend carriage accidents.



New York
The debate over whether the carriage trade in New York continues. Outraged surged again when news spread of a horse falling on a taxi within Manhattan. The horses were being ridden from their stable to the location of their carriage in Central Park. One horse spooked, running backward with its rider and falling with its head awkwardly against a taxi van. The horse was checked over, and later a veterinarian was seen coming out of the stable and it was reported that the horse only suffered a few minor scrapes and bruises. Still, many people see this is just another accident that proves that horses do not belong on the streets of New York.

Rome
The city of Rome has about forty horse-drawn carriage operators. There were plans to end horse-drawn carriages in the city, but pressure from the operators forced city government to abandon the plan. Extreme heat, crowded, slippery roads and loud noises are faced by the horses making many believe that the city of Rome is no place for a horse. Many complain that currently there are laws about the treatment of carriage horses, but no enforcement of the law. Ideally, the horse carriages would be replaced by the electric cars bought for the purpose in 2015, but not yet used.

Melbourne
Starting June 30, the city of Melbourne, Australia will not be issuing permits for new carriages within the city. Years of protest by activists has put pressure on city officials to bring an end to the carriage trade there. Existing carriages are being confined to areas with less traffic as accidents have happened when carriage drivers have done U-turns in front of busy tourist spots. Not all carriages have permits, however, since the roadways in Melbourne are under the jurisdiction of VicRoads, the traffic authority in that area and have a legal right to travel on the roadways. That means the city officials have no say, just as if they were cyclists, over their right to be on the roadways. However, where they can stop for passengers can be subject to rules. Activists hope, however, that the public will understand that horses and vehicles are a bad mix and that Melbourne’s carriage trade is coming to an end.
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