Hundreds rally in support of horse carriages outside Victoria City Hall

Hundreds rally in support of horse carriages outside Victoria City Hall

Crowd angry with Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion to ban local horse carriage industry

“Ban horse carriages? Neigh, neigh!” read a protester’s sign outside Victoria City Hall Thursday night.

The protester was one of hundreds who came out to show support for the local horse carriage industry in the face of Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion to ban the carriages from city streets by 2023 – reinvigorating a debate raised last year after a video surfaced of horses struggling to stand after falling on a Victoria street.

The reaction has been swift, with thousands opposing Isitt’s motion in an online petition and gathering in droves outside City Hall before the evening’s council meeting.

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

Donna Friedlander, owner of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours, said fighting the motion takes away from her business.

“It’s really scary for us. The motion right now is to review it, but the problem with that is, we’ve just done this nine months ago,” she said. “We just provided all the evidence. We were taken away from operating our businesses last summer significantly, to try to meet the requests of the City, which we did.

Now as we head into our busy season again, it’s just almost impossible for us to continue to juggle things…to keep operating with this black cloud over your head of, ‘do we stay or do we go?”

Asked what might happen to her horses if the ban is approved, Friedlander said she “couldn’t even go there.”

“I can’t even answer that, I don’t know. I’m not independently wealthy, one horse costs about $20,000 a year to upkeep properly,” she said. “I just can’t even go there right now. They’re my family.”

Janice Boyes came out from Black Creek to show her support for the horse carriage industry.

“I took my first carriage ride today and I thought it was wonderful,” she said. “I would like to see it continue. It’s as iconic as tea at the Empress.”

Long-time Victoria local Marilyn Williams agreed.

“I’ve lived here for many years and I love them,” she said. “It’s not fair, it’s part of Victoria.”

Coun. Ben Isitt brought the motion to council earlier this month with concerns around the safety of the industry and the impact on the animals.

At least one woman who agreed with him showed up Thursday night.

Janice Boyes, of Black Creek, stands next to 40-year Victoria resident Marilyn Williams. Both women rallied outside Victoria City Hall Thursday night to show their support for the carriage industry. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Connie Mahoney said the eyes of carriage horses look “empty.”

“Here it’s an industry. People don’t see anything wrong with making money off the backs of animals, even when it’s exploitation,” she said.

“I’m sure everybody here, they love the horses. We all love the horses… we love the elephants in the circus…we love the tigers and the lions whipped and beaten for our entertainment, we love the whales and dolphins in the aquariums, who live their whole lives in confinement.

I see this as the same situation. The same people who say they love them, are not thinking about the animal. I’d like to see them banned tomorrow.”

Kelly Gorman has been driving horse carriages off and on for the last nine years. She said she came out because she cares for the horses.

“We’re the horse nerds, we’re the people that were studying veterinary guides as kids. This [industry] allows us to use our unique skill set in a very practical way,” she said, adding, “I haven’t really had problems in my general operations driving the carriage with the traffic. The horses are quite able to function well in that.”

City of Victoria staff have been asked to report back to council on the work required to phase out the carriages at the next quarterly meeting on Sept. 7.

A crowd of supports took to Victoria City Hall Thursday night to show support for the local horse carriage industry. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

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



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

A pub patio in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patio and picnic dining could mean a free meal for Greater Victoria patrons

Local celebrities pick up the tab with latest Greater Victoria chamber contest

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read