In two victories for horses, the city of Brussels has announced an upcoming ban on horse-drawn carriages, and Paris has declared a future ban on pony rides in public parks.

A Ban on Horse-Drawn Carriages in Brussels

Brussels’ ban will take effect first, with the city’s sole horse-drawn carriage operator required to shift to using all electric carriages instead by 2024.

News reported that just three horses currently are being exploited to cart an estimated 15,000 annual visitors through the city — raising immediate concerns about the horses’ welfare.

“It was hard to see the animals lugging tourists everyday,” Zoubida Jellab, the alderman for animal welfare, told news. “Sometimes they only had a 5-min break between two rides.”

Animal advocates, who had long pushed for the ban, had reported to legislators that horses suffered from joint problems on the noisy and polluted streets. 

Fabian Maingain, an alderman for economic affairs, noted the shift won’t result in lost jobs, with the operator still licensed and planning to conduct the same schedule — just without the horses — in a win-win for the city.

Maingain told news that electric carriages, while more compassionate, also allow Brussels to offer something modern and innovative to tourists while protecting the environment and the city’s heritage.

A Ban on Cruel Pony Rides in Paris

Paris’s announced ban on permitting children to take cruel pony rides throughout the city’s public parks is scheduled to start in 2025.

The ban also is the result of a relentless push by caring animal advocates and group Paris Animaux Zoopolis (PAZ), who protested in the parks and created a petition to end pony rides that gathered at least 8,400 signatures.

The animal advocates reported that ponies forced to give rides to children typically work long days while enduring painful bits, don’t have permanent access to fresh water or hay, and can suffer for hours while being transported into the city, according to news.

PAZ welcomed the ban with a celebratory statement on its website.

“This victory in Paris represents an important step toward making society as a whole understand that animals are not toys and arriving at a world where animals are no longer exploited for leisure,” the group said. 

Horses Still Need Your Help!

We are encouraged by these fantastic developments for horses – but horses still need your help!  

If you haven’t already, please sign our petitions to ban cruel helicopter-assisted wild horse roundups in the United States, to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City and Charleston, South Carolina, and to end cruel horse races!