Victoria City Council asked for advise from the BCSPCA on how to move forward with the horse-drawn carriage industry. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria considers limiting where horse-drawn carriages can go

Council puts forward several queries to the BCSPCA for consideration

Victoria council has chosen the seek further input from the BCSPCA before making any final decisions on changes to the horse-drawn carriage industry.

In a committee of the whole meeting Thursday morning, council heard from BCSPCA representatives Amy Morris, manager of policy and companion animals and Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer.

The two reiterated the messages from two previous letters, dated May 28, 2018, and July 25, 2018, which outlined a desire to take a solutions-based policy approach to review existing practices and offer more safety for working horses. The letters also outlined a need to change where exactly horses are working to avoid high-traffic areas.

ALSO READ: BC SPCA recommends ban of horse-drawn carriages from downtown Victoria streets

“We do not have a position or statement saying that a horse’s welfare can’t be met by being a working horse,” Moriarty said. “I do think there’s an opportunity to meet the five freedoms, and what that looks like though is up for discussion. “

The BCSPCA’s five freedoms include freedom from hunger and thirst; from pain, injury and disease; from distress; from discomfort, and the freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.

As a result of the discussions, council voted to send a series of inquiries to the BCSPCA for recommendations. The motion was put forward by Coun. Ben Isitt, despite his own personal preference on the situation.

“I personally favour transitioning the industry to propulsion by non-horse means,” Isitt said, adding that he realized this wasn’t agreed upon by the majority of council. “I think we are going to have to look at some measures that don’t go as far as a phaseout but look to reduce the risk.”

READ MORE: Victoria city councillor proposes to phase out horse-drawn carriages

The city sought input on three points. The first was whether carriages should be reduced to vehicles which only use one horse, an idea that the BCSPCA put forward in its May 28 letter.

The second is to limit the geographical areas where horses are permitted, with initial suggestions limiting the area to a northern border of Humboldt Street, Cook Street to the east, Dallas Road to the south and Victoria Harbour to the west.

“This would be somewhat balanced because it includes streets in the downtown core… [and] does provide the opportunity to go around the signature tourist attractions,” Isitt said. “It would entail the elimination of Government Street and Chinatown … I think we’re just seeing too much conflict, particularly in vicinity of the new bridge and from motor vehicle congestion.”

Lastly, council also asked for recommended working conditions for horses, including maximum temperatures and humidity.

Council voted to receive the BCSPCA’s comments when they receive the next quarterly update from staff, so at the time they would have a better understanding of the staff’s workload. Currently, staff are set to prioritize the city’s bike network, Go Victoria and the city’s strategic plan.

On Thursday morning the Victoria Horse Alliance, a group of local advocates, submitted a petition with 40,000 signatures advocating for the total banning of all horse-drawn carriages, though this was not part of council’s discussion.

“[T]his issue is not going to go away until the horse carriages are banned,” said founder Jordan Reichert in an emailed statement. “They seem more interested in appeasing industry than listening to the authority on animal welfare in this province.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

City of Victoriahorse carriages

Just Posted

Helping our community during COVID-19

A high school student’s perspective

The buoys are back in town

Watershed Wanderings column by Lake Windermere Ambassadors

Invermere council okay with ‘reverse grad march’ idea

Nothing finalized and complications aplenty, but Invermere council agrees to grad march idea

101-year-old man targets 101 block fundraising walk for food bank

A centenarian in Invermere has embarked on a new adventure to raise money for the food bank.

Wings Over the Rockies encourages nature viewing during pandemic

Three local photographers and Wings supporters offer nature viewing tips.

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read