One of the last working horses in Brussels, Source: Zoubida Jellab Facebook

Brussels puts an end to horse buggies, replaces them with e-carriages

Brussels puts an end to horse buggies, replaces them with e-carriages

The change will enter into force from next year

The City of Brussels will become the latest in a growing club of cities that have chosen to end the practice of horse-drawn carriages on its streets. And much like Palma de Mallorca (in Spain), the authorities announced that the aim is to replace the buggies with electric carriages, in a bid to promote animal welfare and rights.

Starting in 2024, the new ordinance will enter into force, which means that until the end of this year, tourists will still have the chance to hitch a ride on a horse-drawn buggy if they are so inclined. The local authorities, however, would like to encourage more progressive attitudes towards that traditional practice with the introduction of electric carriages.

Animal well-being is paramount

Apparently, around 15,000 tourists take a carriage ride through the centre of Brussels every year. And in fact, this old-timey service has been provided by only a single operator, who owns three horses for the purpose. These three horses, who had been working non-stop for the past 10 years, can now look forward to a well-deserved retirement.

"I've been fighting for four years for the horses that ride around the city centre with tourists. It was hard to see the animals lugging tourists around every day. Sometimes they only had a five-minute break between two rides. In these temperatures it's even more difficult," says Zoubida Jellab (Ecolo-Groen), Alderman for Animal Welfare in Brussels.

The alderman explained that the change will not result in the loss of work or business opportunities for the operator and the schedules will be kept in place. The only thing that will change is that they will now be powered by electrical engines. No more hooves clanking on the pavement, but also – no more animal suffering.



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