The horse and carriage protests taking place in Old Town could get tense near the end of July, said Adam Stirr, animal rights activist and founder of At War For Animals Niagara.
In an email to the Lake Report, he said he expects about 200 people from both sides to attend a protest planned for July 28 in the group’s favoured spot at the intersection of Queen and King streets where Sentineal Carriages operates its business.
The protests have sparked a large debate between those who believes horses shouldn’t be used for work and others who support the Sentineal family, which has owned and operated their carriage business in Niagara-on-the-Lake for 30 years.
Both sides claim each other is misinformed about the impact such work as pulling carriages has on horses.
The Sentineals, horse owners for their entire lives, have said they treat their horses well and that certain species of horses, such as the large, heavy types they use for their business, are happier when they’re working, also noting many of the horses are rescued from slaughter auctions.
Stirr and members of AWFAM refute those claims, saying the horses — which are used in all four seasons — are suffering.
Stirr said the group believes the horses would be better off in a “sanctuary” where they can live their lives “free of their human masters.”
Fred Sentineal, who owns and runs Sentineal Carriages with his wife Laura, has said many of the claims by AWFAM members are ill-educated, such as that the heat affects their hoofs.
He also noted the activists aren’t there protesting “when the horses go to slaughter.”