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

Salmon Arm council supports increase to development service fees

Bylaw enables city to recover more of the cost related to staff time

Salmon Arm students hone acting chops in Haney whodunnit

Local talent brings Mystery of Dutch Charlie to life at RJ Haney Heritage Village

Two lightning caused fires in North Okanagan

The fires sparked Monday evening

UPDATE: Second collision on Highway 1 west of Salmon Arm now clear

Emergency crews respond to motor-vehicle collision near Second Nations Road intersection

CSRD to seek public assent to borrow $1.77 million for park purchase

Formal opposition from 10 per cent of electors required to halt loan

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Column: A newcomer’s perspective on Salmon Arm

Community organizations give a sense of fellowship

Horgan hints at Daylight Saving Time changes after record survey response

More than 223,000 online surveys were submitted in the government’s public consultation

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

UPDATE: Culprit leaves clue for Okanagan RCMP in rainbow crosswalk vandalism

Crosswalk was defaced on the weekend, but RCMP may have some evidence

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

Kelowna house fire deemed not suspicious

Fire crews doused overnight blaze at Barnaby Road home

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Most Read