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  

City of Victoriahorse carriages

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read