For more than a century, Victoria has been home to horse drawn carriages.
But now, amid accusations of animal cruelty, a local animal rights group is ramping up it’s efforts to see the long standing practice permanently banned.
“Why do we have horses wading through traffic in the streets of Victoria in 2016?” asks Jordan Reichert of Victoria Horse Alliance, “It’s about addressing the issues of cruelty, pain and discomfort.”
Reichert and his group want to see the city ban horse drawn carriage tours.
He’s compiled a 28 page report, which covers a long list of health and safety concerns.
He’s also filed a complaint with the BC SPCA, claiming, amongst other things, that the horses hooves are not being properly cared for.
“Theres cracking. All these things can lead to long term damage and discomfort,” said Reichart.
That claim appears to have the support of the American Farriers Association, which is quoted in the report saying “Not only do the shoes not fit the horse’s feet, they are trimmed and fit so badly that it’s causing obvious damage.”
No one from either of Victoria’s two carriage operators was available for comment Monday, but Kate Clark of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours released the following statement :
“We are disappointed in the petition and believe it is an unjustified and uninformed attack on the carriage industry led by passion without information. The key points used to convince people to sign this petition are false and misleading, designed to pull at the heart strings of people that don’t know or understand the science and devotion behind this business. The industry-leading Tally-Ho brand is forward thinking and strives for excellence in horse care and safety; we set the bar very high for carriage operations on a global scale. We are happy to educate anyone interested in learning the science, passion and dedication behind our unique horsemanship program and urge people to research our standards before signing a petition. Victoria would be at a loss without the horses, not just for the sake of tourism but because we want all future generations to have the opportunity to experience the gift of a horse and human relationship.”
Reichert says he will present his findings to city council, but whether Victoria is willing to forgo a long standing tradition remains to be seen.