First of all, we would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment to being a community based financial institution that cares about where its customer’s money goes and where their interest comes from. In a time where major financial institutions seek only to maximize profit, your ethic is a refreshing take on what banking can and should be.
However, the issue of ethics is always a difficult one to broach especially because so many people have different ethical positions on different issues. One such issue that raises ethical questions is that of the horse-drawn carriage industry. Having been banned in many major cities across the globe from Toronto, Beijing, London, and Paris this antiquated practice that places both the horses and citizens at risk due to the stressful conditions and unpredictable nature of these animals on city streets is far past its prime. People all over the world are advocating banning this type of tourism and Victoria is no different in this regard.
Animal advocacy groups are working to raise awareness of the annual accidents that occur in the city due to the carriages and the poor working conditions the horses must endure day in and day out. While we understand there are regulations regarding the care and upkeep of the horses, this does not address the conditions and vulnerability they must navigate in the increasingly busy city streets. Considering the BCSPCA’s own Five Freedoms, we must act with the horse’s interests in mind:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
2. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
3. Freedom from distress
4. Freedom from discomfort
5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.
Primarily, we consider Freedoms 2 and 3 to be of concern although arguments can be made for any of these freedoms being infringed upon by having a horse harnessed to a carriage carrying people in traffic.
Because we cannot idly sit by while other animals are being put in this precarious circumstance day after day, we must question the ethics behind this practice and if we would want to invest in an organization that publicly supports them.
It has been brought to our attention that on your website one of the photos in your slideshow on the main page is that of a horse-drawn carriage in Victoria, B.C. Because of the issues stated above, we cordially ask that you remove this picture from your website as it advertises this type of inhumane animal use by association. We are not asking you cut all formal ties with these businesses. We are only asking that the public promotion of them on your website and other promotional materials be stopped.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. We look forward to your response and should you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada
VANCITY SUBSEQUENTLY REMOVED THE IMAGE OF THE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE IN VICTORIA, B.C. FROM THEIR MYVISAREWARDSPLUS WEBSITE.
WE ARE EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO VANCITY FOR TAKING THIS ISSUE SERIOUSLY AND NO LONGER PROMOTING THE INHUMANE PRACTICE OF HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES.