The fight over the future of horse-drawn carriages on Victoria’s Streets saw supporters and opponents face off at Victoria City Hall on Thursday night
Jordan Reichert of the Victoria Horse Alliance, a group that staunchly opposes the industry, delivered the results of an online petition started in 2016.
“We are here today to bring 33-thousand signatures to the City of Victoria from people in Victoria, from across Canada, and across the world who are opposed to the operation of horse-drawn carriages here and who want them banned,” he said.
The origin of the signatures has not been verified.
It comes a week after the BC SPCA issued a letter to Victoria Council recommending horse-drawn carriages be banned from downtown Victoria streets after an incident last month where two horses fell to the ground.
“Emergent video of the event is alarming and demonstrates handlers were not adequately trained in emergency procedures, nor in control of a situation which posed a serious threat to public safety and the animals? welfare,” wrote Craig Daniell, CEO of the BC SPCA.
But a number of horse-drawn carriage operators and drivers as well as an equine veterinarian told Council that the BC SPCA’s assessment was incorrect and unfair.
“Witnesses who were familiar with horses were impressed with…how the situation was handled,” said Emily May, head horse trainer at Victoria Carriage Tours.
“In the ten years i have been providing the primary care for the Victoria Carriage Tours, I can tell you that there has not been a single incident of injury to a horse while operating carriages in the downtown area,” said equine veterinarian Dr. Danica Olenick.
City Council continues to study the issue.
It comes on the same day that Montreal’s municipal administration announced it will move forward with a plan to ban horse-drawn carriages.
City Coun. Craig Sauve said Thursday he’s introducing a regulation to end the practice amid a growing concern over the welfare of the animals, despite tighter rules imposed on the industry in recent years
The city’s new regulation would prohibit horse-drawn carriages anywhere on Montreal’s territory after Dec. 31, 2019.
With files from Canadian Press