At the end of his first debate in the 2015 federal election, Jordan Reichert of the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada said if elected he would work towards a ban on the horse carriages of Victoria, B.C. Although he wasn’t elected, he is going to do it anyway.
Reichert acknowledges that there were both cheers and silence at his announcement at the James Bay Neighborhood Associations debate.
“I brought up a lot of topics that people weren’t used to hearing at a political debate and the horse-carriages was just one of them. It is a sensitive issue for a lot of people, many want them gone while others are indifferent.”
There have been accidents in Victoria, B.C. every year with the horse carriages for the past six years and many more prior to that. Reichert claims that many accidents also go unreported and that the carriage industry poses a threat to the safety of the horses, citizens, and visitors. Earlier this year in August a witness to a carriage accident reported what she saw to several animal advocacy groups, but there was never any media coverage of the incident.
Reichert has developed a new organization Victoria Horse Alliance and a website www.banhorsecarriagesvictoria.org to keep people up to date on their activities.
The city of Victoria has struggled with what to do with the horse carriages for many years as every time there is an accident with them there is a new call for them to not be able to operate in the city. In 2009, the city implemented stronger regulations in conjunction with the BCSPCA to try and improve the treatment of the horses and the operation of the carriages.
However, for Reichert regulation is not enough.
“I think the city has the best intentions when it comes to regulating the horse carriages; however, regulation does not remove the fact that using animals in this industry is animal exploitation and that putting horses in the middle of traffic is a precarious place for the horses, drivers, and tourists. They have a responsibility to protect their citizens and that should include the horses too.”
There are two carriage companies in Victoria, Victoria Carriage Tours and Tally-Ho Tours. On their websites, both companies report taking good care of their horses and that the horses are made for heavy labour.
– Victoria Animal News