It is amazing what you can learn in just seven minutes….
Right off the top I am going to admit I went into this one a little jaded. As someone is almost vegan (just a little cheese) and a big advocate for animal rights, I was definitely on the side of the city of Montreal and the banning of caleches as of 2020. I saw this as another way in which humans exploited animals for their own gain. The conditions are awful for animals. They work in heat, have to deal with noise and pollution on the streets they walk on, have to pull the caleches, and other things. But after watching Vincent Laliberte’s short film I am going to say that while I have not changed my mind about the banning of caleches I do see that there is another side I wasn’t thinking of.
Since December 31, 2019 caleches or the horse-drawn carriages have been banned in the city of Montreal. They had been a staple in the Old Montreal area of the city for many decades. Most who argued against them only thought of the damage being done to the animals. And rightly so, but maybe more thought should have been paid to the humans/drivers.
Laliberte interviews several of the drivers in his short documentary. As such we get to know a little more about what type of people made up the ranks of this job. He shows that a good portion were people who had encountered troubles in life like homelessness, jail or addiction. These people were attracted to making a living this way because they made their own hours and they got to spend time with the horses.
Now that they don’t have their horses (as the stables they were kept in closed as well) or jobs these people are lost. Not knowing what to do. Maybe slipping back into the life they used to lead. It is certainly going to take a mental health toll on the drivers.