Petition to ban the horse carriages necessary to raise awareness of cruelty and safety concerns, reports advocates.
Victoria Horse Alliance’s petition to ban the horse carriages has been a long time coming, but is part of a larger picture approach. They have been relatively quiet for the past several months while laying the groundwork for their upcoming campaign against the Victoria horse carriage industry.
Their last major action was the Trolley Walks in December where they walked alongside the horse trolleys sponsored by the Downtown Victoria Business Association, holding signs and talking to pedestrians to raise awareness of the ethical concerns associated with the industry. They also documented the condition of the horses feet and numerous safety concerns.
It’s more than bad work done by an unqualified person, it could cause permanent damage to the feet and legs.
The petition condemns the operation of the horse carriages, claiming documentation of improper foot care that has led to a BC SPCA cruelty report being filed. A certified farrier who was sent images taken of the horses feet condemned their care and described it as “shocking,” and noting “…it could cause permanent damage to the feet and legs.” The petition also condemns the use of the “bit,” which sits in an inter-dental region of the horses mouth and is used to communicate with the horses through inducing pain and cites research describing the 50 plus negative psychological and physiological effects associated with its use.
Beyond the direct concerns of exploitation and cruelty, the petition also condemns the high cost to the City of Victoria of renting spaces to the two carriage companies at the corner of Menzies and Belleville St. versus using them for parking or other activities. There are also numerous concerns raised about the frequent collisions and safety incidents that continue to take place in Victoria with the horse carriages. Through Freedom of Information Requests to the City of Victoria and the Victoria Police Department, Victoria Horse Alliance has been able to collect enough data that they say demands action by the City to protect the safety of the horses, citizens, and visitors. There have been over 20 collisions and safety incidents with the horse-drawn carriages in Victoria over the past 20 years.
The petition to ban the horse carriages is being aligned to lobby the City to “phase-out” the horse carriages by a Dec 31st, 2017 end date. Victoria Horse Alliance reports that while the message being sent out is for a “ban” on the horse carriage industry in Victoria, it is also important for people to recognize that this won’t happen overnight and that their plan has been constructed to give the city time to implement the end date as effectively as possible.
Victoria Horse Alliance is encouraging people in the community to come forward with any documentation they have of incidents involving the horse carriages, as many are not reported to police. If citizen’s witness a collision or safety incident involving the horse carriages or any signs of them being in poor condition, they are urged to report it to the BC SPCA through their Animal Cruelty Reporting Hotline at 1 (855) 6BC SPCA (1-855-622-7722).
You can learn more about Victoria Horse Alliance’s concerns, add your signature, and share the petition on their website here.
Victoria Animal News