The capital of France will ban pony rides for children in its public parks from 2025 after animal rights activists campaigned against them for years. In 2021 Paris city hall introduced a charter for the welfare of horses, and now in July 2023, it decided to phase out the ride operators’ licences. 

Pony rides are still taking place in Paris parks like Champ de Mars, Parc Monceau and Parc du Luxembourg. Animal rights groups have highlighted that ponies are forced to work long days with metal bars in their mouths, have no permanent access to fresh water and hay, and have to suffer for hours in transport trucks. Their campaign was publicised by local media such as BFM, Paris Lights Up, Paris Secret, Le Bonbon, Konbini, and Paris Zig Zag.

Amandine Sansivens, activist from Paris Animaux Zoopolis (PAZ), said to Reuters, “Ponies are not toys. Children learn nothing about them from these walks, no emotional link is created. It just turns ponies into entertainment objects.” PAZ ran a petition to ban the rides which gathered more than 8,400 signatures.

On their website, PAZ said this: “For decades, operators have been doing their business in Parisian parks by offering pony rides to entertain children. At the time, no one cared much about what the ponies endured or what became of them at the end of their lives. Since 2021 PAZ has been looking into the subject. For the first time, an association questioned the validity of this activity – which teaches children to consider animals as mere merry-go-rounds – and raised the question of the suffering inflicted (stress, violent equipment, hunger, thirst, slaughterhouse…).

While vegans do not ride horses, there are still people who do not see anything wrong with children sitting on animals, forced to entertain them against their will, so local authorities must act and ban any activity involving horses, including horse-drawn carriages for tourists. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.