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Sep. 22, 2020 | Tuesday
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Horse protesters' video with 'message from NOTL' sent to town's legal team, mayor says
A screenshot from the video.

A video that claims to send an official message from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Tourism NOTL has been making the rounds online, spurring action from the town.

Niagara Now was made aware of the video by a NOTL resident, who is concerned about the message it contains.

The video, which uses both the town and Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake's official logos, is spliced with footage from an Aug. 23 protest, during which animal rights activists and supporters of the town's longstanding horse-drawn carriage company met in Old Town to voice their opposing opinions.

The video shows footage of carriage supporters, who were telling protesters — many of whom are from outside the Niagara region — to "go home," but makes it seem as if the message is being directed at all visitors.

The video was posted by animal rights activist group At War for Animals Niagara on Thursday and has received more than 200 views.

"Here is your official greeting from the 'Friendliest town in Canada.' Don't forget this very important message!" the video description reads.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she's seen of the video and that it has been forwarded to the town's legal counsel.

She declined to make any further comment.

Adam Stirr, co-founder of the protest group, said the video is meant to be a "parody" of an official tourism advertisement, despite it not being labelled as such at the time of the interview Friday afternoon. The video has since been reposted with a disclaimer indicating it is a parody.

Stirr admitted there was no context in the video to let viewers know the footage is from a protest, but said, "I'm not sure what kind of context is really needed."

He said though the video's message is to all visitors of the town, "you can see in the video that it's obviously not just a regular day on the street ... this is not the official town message to visitors."

"It's not saying that this is what residents treat visitors like," he added.

Other similar videos are planned and this is "just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Chamber of Commerce president Eduardo Lafforgue and representatives from Tourism NOTL declined to comment on the video.

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