According to a press release given out by the Montreal SPCA, on October 28, they received a call from the police requesting assistance with a case of alleged cruelty towards a carriage horse in Griffintown, in the South West area of Montreal. According to witnesses, the horse collapsed on the way back to the stables and the driver of the carriage kicked the horse once he was on the ground. The SPCA arrived on the scene and immediately contacted an equine veterinarian to examine and attend to the horse’s injuries.
This incident draws attention to the deplorable work and living conditions for carriage horses in the city of Montreal, something the general public is not necessarily aware of. “These horses are often forced to work 9 or more hours per day 7 days a week, are subject to potential collisions with traffic, loud noises that can cause “spooking” (which can also endanger humans), extreme temperatures and years of walking on unnaturally hard surfaces which often causes lameness” said Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at Montreal’s SPCA. “Not to mention that the horses when they are not working, are tied in stalls where they have no opportunity to move around freely or engage in any other natural behaviors and that most of the horses when they can no longer be used to pull carriages will be sent to auction or to slaughter”.
The horse that collapsed on Sunday was surrendered to the Montreal SPCA by his owner along with another horse that the owner no longer wished to keep. Both horses are now in their foster home where they will have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, socialize with other horses and receive the necessary care and attention that they require, once fully recovered the SPCA will be looking for adoptive homes for both horses. The Montreal SPCA is still investigating what caused the horse to collapse as well as the allegations against the driver of the carriage.
The Montreal SPCA believes it is time for the public, the city and the province to take a closer look at this industry and the working and living conditions the carriage horses are subjected to in the city of Montreal.