The City of Victoria is proposing a plan to phase out horse-drawn cariages by 2023 (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

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

Main door at Cranes Crossing, Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter, on March 5. Northern Health issued a public notice of potential exposure occurring at the shelter between Feb. 22 and 24. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 Public Exposure Notice issued for Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter

Northern Health said possible exposure between Feb. 22 and 24

Air Canada cancelled flights to Prince Regional Airport on Jan. 23, 2021 due to loss of ridership during COVID-19. An Air Canada Rouge takes off from Montreal in March 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
BC Liberals call for immediate action and support for B.C. airports

Prince Rupert Regional Airport and others across the province struggle with COVID-19 effects

Paul Williams rector of St. Andrews Cathedral in Prince Rupert sits in front of the 95-year-old pipe organ on March 5. The church has put out a community call for volunteers to play the instrument to keep it fresh and operational. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
St. Andrews Cathedral pipe organ needs players to make it sing

Prince Rupert volunteers who want to practice their playing skills are welcome

Alex Campbell, Velna Nelson, Beatrice Robinson and Ellen Mason take part in the Sm’algyax Word App and website launched by School District 52 on March 1. (Photo: Supplied by Roberta Edzera)
Prince Rupert SD 52 launches new Sm’algyax word app and website

Database for new language resources stems back more than 30 years

The welcome sign is the first thing new employees moving to Prince Rupert will see as they drive the road into the city. The ‘Prince Rupert - Make it Home’ employment campaign to draw people to the region was launched on Feb. 16. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Stakeholders respond to employee recruitment campaign housing ‘disconnect’

‘Prince Rupert -Make it Home’ is 5-year recruitment and retention campaign

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read