Brussels gets electric instead of horse-drawn carriages

Since last year, taking rides in horse-drawn carriages in the center of Brussels has no longer been possible. The city will come up with an alternative this summer: the horse-drawn carriages will be replaced by three electric ones, a unique in Europe, according to Brussels news site BRUZZ. The electric ones will be operated by Well Done Company, which previously used horse-drawn carriages.

Since 2021, it has been forbidden to exploit ponies or other fairground horses in the Brussels region. This was decided by Brussels animal welfare minister Bernard Clerfayt (Défi) to improve animal welfare. Independent Brussels MP Victoria Austral, formerly DierAnimal, then called for a ban on horse-drawn carriages.

Debate about animal welfare

That debate played a part in switching to electric carriages, according to Thibault Danthine from Well Done Company, who had already stopped running horse-drawn carriages since March last year, although he said it was also “sometimes difficult to find a suitable place where the animal could stay”, as was “finding staff who could handle horses.”

‘Unique in Europe’

According to Brussels Aderman for Commerce Fabien Maingain (Défi), who insists that “the entrepreneur was a good example in terms of animal welfare,” they were also keen to propose something modern that does not yet exist elsewhere, now that there was that social debate about horse-drawn carriages in the city center. The electric carriages would be unique in Europe, according to Maingain.

According to Thibault Danthine, they are modern devices with an old-fashioned look, which “will take us back to the late nineteenth century, when the first cars were also designed as a kind of carriages without horses.”

Some 15 000 tourists take a carriage ride through Brussels’ city center every year.

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