The plight of Montreal’s
Born free spirits, they died due to our indifference
By Georges R. Dupras
Published 2017-09-29 in WestmountMag.ca
She lies in the street, in harness, for at least ten minutes. The public is told that Cocotte is tired, nothing more.
I would think that the citizens of Montreal are also tired; tired of the same old rhetoric, the same old excuses and the same old politics. If this horse was so exhausted as to lie down in full harness on a busy street, some might argue that she should not be working in the first place. Horses rarely sleep lying down unless they feel safe, and this because they are flight animals. Between 2009 and 2015, sixteen Montreal carriage horses have died after a life no civilized society should condone.
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, who ignores the advice of subject specialists*, has just spent over a billion dollars (source: Marvin Rotrand) on this city’s’ 375th anniversary celebrations. I can’t help but feel that “if” Mr. Coderre, in his infinite wisdom, had just invested some of these dollars to retire all carriage horses to sanctuaries, the ongoing issue of carriage horses hit by cars, collapsing and dying as a result of our indifference would be a thing of the past. How much would it have cost for the city to buy out the carriage permit holders? There exist several innovative ideas that could and should replace horse-drawn carriages.
Between 2009 and 2015, sixteen Montreal carriage horses have died after a life no civilized society should condone.
As another municipal election approaches, Montreal voters have a choice to make. Do we stand with the past, meaning rodeos which re-enforce man’s dominance and brutality, and carriage horses collapsing on the street, or do we move ahead with creative options and, in the case of rodeos, more progressive demonstrations of man’s cultural diversity?
Montreal is a world leader in the arts, social change and welcoming arms to those in need, but falls well behind other cities in extending compassion to non-humans.
Rest in peace Adelia, Anastasia, Ceasar, Maude… and the list goes on…
* Pit Bulls (species specific legislation)
Image: Gerry Lauzon
Read also: A cruel detour to the slaughterhouse
For over fifty years Georges R. Dupras has advocated for animals. He is a member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), a Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC), Quebec Representative of Zoocheck Canada and past Board member of the Canadian SPCA.
He worked on the original Save the Seal campaign in 1966 that culminated in the founding of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 1969. He has published two books including Values in Conflict and the eBook Ethics, a Human Condition. Georges currently lives in Montreal, Canada.