Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Animal Rights Group Urges Victoria Council to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Animal Rights Group Urges Victoria Council to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Article excerpt

Victoria group wants horse-drawn carriages banned


VICTORIA - A ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the Victorian-era neighbourhoods of British Columbia's capital city is a time-honoured tourist draw, but an animal rights group wants the businesses hobbled.

Jordan Reichert of the Victoria Horse Alliance said the group will ask city council on Thursday to phase out the industry by the end of 2017.

"It's animal exploitation, using animals for profit to entertain tourists," he said in an interview on Wednesday.

"The horse carriages are operating on borrowed time at this point. It's not what is going to cause the city to ban them. It's when the city is going to ban them."

More than 900 people have signed his group's online petition to ban the rides, citing collisions between carriages and cars and alleging poor maintenance of equipment, improper hoof care and metal bars or "bits" causing pain and damage to horses' mouths.

There are two carriage companies in the city, Tally Ho Carriage Tours and Victoria Carriage Tours, that have a total of 52 horses and employ roughly 70 people.

The companies issued a joint statement in which they disputed the group's claims that Victoria had seen over 20 carriage-related collisions and safety concerns over the past 20 years.

"This data includes all reports of any nature within the industry, no matter how trivial. We are proud of our safety record as safety is our paramount goal," the companies said.

"We have documented processes in place to ensure safety checks of horses and equipment are performed multiple times each day."

All carriage drivers are highly experienced in ensuring that bits are fitted properly and used with respect for the horse, the statement added.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said the animals must undergo full physicals by veterinarians twice a year for companies to obtain and keep permits. …

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