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Ban Horse Carriages Niagara started this petition to Niagara Regional Council

Niagara Regional Council, we the undersigned call on you to take an immediate and progressive action to protect the safety, well-being, and integrity of horses currently used in the tourist-driven horse-drawn carriage industry by:

1. Revoking the existing licenses that allow horse-drawn carriages to operate for profit-driven ventures;

2. Implementing a Region-wide ban on the operation of horse-drawn carriages for profit-driven and/or entertainment purposes;

3. Promoting and/or incentivizing the safe transfer of horses currently entrapped in the carriage industry to reputable sanctuaries (where applicable); and

4. Promoting and/or incentivizing a transition to humane sightseeing alternatives such as electric carriages, bike taxis, or pedicabs (where applicable).

WHERAS horses forced to pull carriages in urban settings present numerous welfare issues jeopardizing the horse’s safety and well-being, including: being forced to stand stationary for hours at a time waiting for fares, tethered to a short rope; constant exposure to traffic, noise, and pollution; chronic respiratory ailments from breathing in car exhaust and fumes; early-onset lameness from being forced onto pavement for extended periods; being forced to pull heavy carriages in vehicular traffic; suffering from heat prostration/heatstroke working in hot and humid temperatures as well as working in rain, snowstorms, and blizzards; being at constant risk of spooking in traffic leading to a high probability of accidents, injury, and/or death; and insufficient access to green pastures.

AND WHEREAS summer months in the Niagara Region regularly reach temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius + humidity, and the horses experience even greater elevated body temperatures from the heat radiating off the pavement. An activist in Niagara-on-the-Lake documented a Sentineal Carriages Inc. Carriage Driver stating on film that Sentineal Carriages Inc. will keep their horses working in up to 40 degree heat + humidity!

AND WHEREAS horses are prey animals and spook very easily from noises in urban settings. Two documented collisions involving horse-drawn carriages have occurred in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in 2013 and 2019 respectively. For as long as horse-drawn carriages operate in the Region, there is a constant and ongoing risk of avoidable accidents compromising the safety of the horses, carriage passengers, carriage drivers, motorists, and pedestrians.

AND WHEREAS the global horse carriage industry is a contributory factor in fueling the demand for horse-breeding, making this industry a key contributor to the horse slaughter and horse meat industries. Once their labour and bodies are spent, carriage horses in Canada are very often shipped overseas to be slaughtered (for meat)- a practice that is widely condemned by Canadians. For so long as the Niagara Region allows horse-drawn carriages to operate locally, the Niagara Region is complicit in perpetuating this vile and global-spanning industry where horses’ bodies are cruelly commodified and killed.

AND WHERAS horse-drawn carriages are inherently inhumane and problematic. Regardless of how they are treated, urban environments are never appropriate for horses. Horses’ physical and mental well-being is jeopardized when they are displaced into dangerous vehicular traffic and crowded parks. This is unjustifiable for entertainment purposes or generating profit.

AND WHEREAS public opinion in the local, national, and international community is increasingly shifting away from viewing the exploited labour of animals for fleeting and frivolous ‘entertainment’ purposes as acceptable in the 21st Century. Marine mammal parks, circuses, zoos, and horse-drawn carriages are widely denounced as cruel, exploitative, and unnecessary by the general public and visitors to the Niagara Region.

AND WHERAS horse-drawn carriages are widely condemned in the national and international community resulting in bans in municipalities worldwide including (but not limited to): Chicago, Illinois; Montreal, Quebec; Mumbai, India; Camden, New Jersey; Guadalajara, Cozumel, & Acapulco, Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah; Barcelona & Marbella, Spain; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Royal Palace of Caserta & Rome, Italy; Biloxi, Mississippi; Palm Beach, Key West, Miami Beach, Kenneth City, Panama City, & Pompano Beach, Florida; & Istanbul, Izmir, & Edirne, Turkey.

AND WHERAS a global alliance of concerned advocates continue to work towards implementing horse-carriage bans through active campaigns in other cities around the world, including (but not limited to): Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia; New York City, New York; Melbourne, Australia; Charleston, South Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; Berlin, Germany; Cape May, New Jersey; Atlanta & Savannah Georgia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Mallorca, Spain; Dallas, Texas; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. (see for more information).

AND WHERAS the Town Council of Niagara-on-the-Lake has appropriated taxpayer money in seeking legal advice with intention to remove peaceful protesters from municipal property in the downtown core and “assign a specific area where protest can be had (peacefully)”. This constitutes an egregious assault on Canadian Citizens’ Charter-protected democratic rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. This blatant disregard for democracy and lawful public participation is a blight on Niagara on the Lake and the Niagara Region more broadly.

There is nothing charming about this.

Horse-drawn carriages are antiquated, cruel, and no longer have a place to operate unchallenged in the 21st Century. Humane and environmentally-friendly alternatives to horse-drawn carriages are increasingly being implemented in municipalities world-wide (built and designed with the same charming exterior as conventional horse-drawn carriages) and the Niagara Region should immediately join the growing list of other progressive municipalities to ban horse carriage rides- a decision which will undoubtedly garner the Region international praise and recognition for being a destination that is friendly to animals.

THEREFORE WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, endorse a humane ordinance to ban horse-drawn carriages for profit-driven and entertainment purposes in the Niagara Region. We urge the Niagara Regional Council to pass a resolution revoking the existing horse-drawn carriage licenses; pass a complete and Region-wide ban on the use and operation of horse-drawn carriages; promote and/or incentivize the transfer of the Niagara Region’s existing carriage horses to sanctuaries (where applicable); and promote and/or incentivize the transition from horse-drawn carriages to the ethical alternatives listed above.

Thank you for signing.


Instagram: @banhorsecarriagesniagara 

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