The City of Victoria is proposing a plan to phase out horse-drawn cariages by 2023 (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Thousands sign petitions following proposal to phase out horse-drawn carriages in Victoria

Advocates and opponents are sharing their opinions with the city

Thousands of people are petitioning in response to a Victoria city councillor’s proposal to phase out horse-drawn carriages.

The Victoria Horse Protection Alliance started its online petition three years ago, but in just a few days hundreds of supporters joined the cause, bringing the total to over 3,500 as of Wednesday morning.

The movement was originally a counter-petition to the Victoria Horse Alliance’s (VHA) call to ban horse-drawn carriages altogether. The VHA petition also started three years ago and a recent spike brings the total number of signatures to over 38,500.

The jump in protests comes after Coun. Ben Isitt put forward a motion which proposes to phase out all horse-drawn carriages by 2023.

READ MORE: Victoria city councillor proposes to phase out horse-drawn carriages

On one side, the Victoria Horse Protection Alliance is asking for the continued protection of nearly 60 draft horses that work in the downtown core.

“Draft horses [are] doing a job that they have been bred to do for over 300 years,” the petition reads. “The majestic horses are much beloved icons of the city, with thousands of guests seeking a horse-drawn tour as one of their must-do activities, and many locals relishing in their beauty and the aesthetic they bring to the city’s inner harbour.”

The Victoria Horse Alliance, on the other hand, argues that having horses work is animal cruelty.

“Past efforts to regulate the horse-drawn carriage industry have not stopped collisions in the streets or inhumane treatment of the horses used in this industry. Currently, there is virtually no regulation or public oversight of this industry,” the VHA petition reads.

POLL: Should horse-drawn carriages be phased out in the City of Victoria?

A letter from the BC SPCA in May 2018 that asked for horse-drawn carriages to be removed from busy downtown streets emboldened the VHA’s stance.

“The BC SPCA recommendations are already a year old and there have been further incidents with the horse carriages since that time,” said Jordan Reichert, VHA founder in an emailed statement. “Four more years of this unsafe, inhumane, and unprofessional industry putting the public and horses’ safety at risk is irresponsible.”

ALSO READ: BC SPCA recommends ban of horse-drawn carriages from downtown Victoria streets

The City’s two horse-carriage businesses, Tally-Ho and Victoria Carriage Tours sent a released statement in response to Isitt’s proposal.

“This motion has been made based upon Councillor Isitt’s own personal ideologies, and is not based upon facts or knowledge,” the statement reads. “Victoria’s horse-drawn industry sets the tone for worldwide standards of care, ethics and operational management.”

In July 2018 the BC SPCA sent a follow-up letter to city council to further emphasize the importance of a “solutions-based policy approach” with horse-industry workers. Tally-Ho and Victoria Carriage Tours say that they’ve been compliant with the BC SPCA and continue to try to work with the city to make the industry as safe as possible.

Isitt’s proposal will be up for discussion at a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, May 16.

Nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District to hear feedback on cannabis production

Bylaw amendment could limit cannabis production in the district

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs pick up first win of the season on home ice

Bannister, Bosse play the heroes in ‘close’ game with Nanaimo

UPDATE: UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

RCMP also said a second vehicle was in the area at the time of the collision

Port Alberni’s 35th Toy Run draws 420 riders

Gloomy weather didn’t dampen spirits

Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

Nanaimo ferry an hour and a half behind schedule after medical emergency

Queen of Oak Bay was delayed at Departure Bay this afternoon

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

Most Read