Dear Downtown Victoria Business Association,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your sustainability initiatives with “The Green Index” and for your promotion of local business in the downtown core.  Independent, local business ownership is the cornerstone of a thriving, responsible, and empowered community.

Responsibility, I believe is the essence of what holds a community together.  Local business has a responsibility to provide products and services that are healthy for the community they serve and that do not degrade the integrity of the community’s values.   In many cases, local business is an educator of the pitfalls of large corporate business and the benefits of ethically produced and sourced goods.

This idea of responsibility is why I write you today.

For a century, horse-drawn carriages have pulled both locals and tourists through the streets of Victoria.   At one time, Belleville St. was lined with horses and carriages in tow as this was then a common method of transportation.   Over time however, the need for such services has devolved with the advent of the proliferation of automobiles, public transit, and bicycles throughout Victoria and the world.  Unfortunately, as with many antiquated practices, those who profit from them and those who gaze upon them with nostalgia believe self-interested preservation of them supersede the responsibility we have to abolition them.

With accidents happening every year for the past six year in Victoria, including 2015, now is the time for our community and local business to take responsibility for the danger that the horse-drawn carriages continue to hold for the horses, citizens and drivers, and visitors to our city.   It is our responsibility to act now, before another accident takes place and life is unnecessarily endangered or lost for the spectacle of animal exploitation in our city streets.   Furthermore, we cannot continue to measure the quality of care provided to the horses off the street as a justification for imperilling their safety on the streets that are unpredictable at best.

I am writing you today because of your participation last year in sponsoring the horse-trolleys during the holiday season in downtown Victoria.   This is likely the busiest time of year for traffic in the downtown core and putting horses carrying significant loads, upwards of 30 people, into the thick of it is not responsible practice.   Last year, citizens from the community followed these trolleys around the city and documented numerous safety concerns that could have easily led to serious consequences.   I do not know how much money was spent by the DVBA on this promotion, but I imagine that providing healthful meals to the great many in need on our city’s streets, or the promotion of business through other incentives that do not exploit and endanger the lives of other individuals, would be a much more socially responsible investment.

I invite you to take under consideration the material we have thus far developed on our website www.banhorsecarriagesvictoria.org regarding these issues.  Specifically, I would recommend my blog to the BCSPCA on why we need a position statement that supports a ban on this inhumane practice

I thank you again for your time and consideration of my request to you to disassociate yourself from the horse-drawn carriage industry by no longer spending citizen funded dollars on this irresponsible and antiquated practice.

Please let me know if I may provide any further information or service to you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Jordan Reichert

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada