Victoria Horse Alliance

We are working to compile a list of evidence based resources for anyone to access, so that the community can better understand our concerns about the horse carriages in our streets.

While there is limited research that has been done specific to the horse carriages themselves, there are standard industry practices used throughout the equine industry that can be equally applied to the horse carriages in Victoria or anywhere.

If you have a resource that you think should be up here and that is related to practices used on horses in the carriage industry, please let us know.

Victoria Horse Alliance

Horse Riding Cruelty: Effects of the Bit.

This video was created by Bite Size Vegan.  However, you do not need to be vegan to understand or agree with its concepts.  She does an excellent and concise job of presenting the facts of how a bit allows horse riders to control a horse through pain.  Horses used in the carriage industry in Victoria are forced to wear bits as can be seen from the pictures on our site and elsewhere.

Here is a link to the article by Dr. Cook referenced in the video:

W.R.COOK School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200, Westborough Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA [1]

Effect on horses hooves working on concrete.

Here is a link from our letter to the BCSPCA requesting them to take a position statement on the horse carriages in Victoria.


It discusses the connection between the stress on horses hooves and the hardness of the surface they walk on.  It focuses on the difference between hard rubber and concrete surfaces.  The carriage horse companies report they use special rubber padded shoes on the horses; however, they are still walking on pavement through these special shoes.  Either way, it is still harder on their bodies over the long run than pasture surfaces.

Carriage Horse Controversy: Tradition or Cruelty?

Here is another video by Bite Size Vegan, this time about the horse carriage industry directly.  She focuses primarily on the New York city horse companies, but many of the same arguments can be applied to a degree here in Victoria.
We are not ignorant that Victoria is nowhere near the size of the New York, or that there is not nearly as much traffic or traffic accidents involving the horse carriages.  However, there have still been horse carriage related accidents every year for at least the last 7 years, including 2015, with many incidents going unreported.  Our question is what will it take for the city to say “enough” and protect citizens and horse before someone gets hurt again or worse.

The BCSPCA has responded with a background statement related to the horse carriages under their current position statement on animals used in recreation, sport, and entertainment.

This amendment to their position statement now states the following in relation to horse carriages:

The BC SPCA is opposed to the infliction of pain or suffering upon, or the killing of any animal, for the purpose of recreation, sport, or entertainment. The use of animals for recreation, sport, or entertainment is only acceptable if: 1) the Five Freedoms are ensured for all animals involved, including breeding animals and animals that have been retired from the activity; 2) humane training methods are used; 3) risk of injury is low; 4) their portrayal is not demeaning toward the individual animal or the species.

BACKGROUND Animals are used for recreation, sport and entertainment at a range of venues (e.g., zoos, aquariums, rodeos, circuses, film and television sets) for a variety of activities (e.g., shows, demonstrations, rides, races, competitions, site-seeing tours). Whenever animals are on display or made to perform, they face risks to their physical and psychological well-being. Such risks concern the ways in which they are bred, raised, housed, trained and transported, as well as the activities themselves. For instance:

When animals such as horses are used for site-seeing tours, they face – among other challenges – considerable heat stress. Carriage rides are typically purchased by tourists, and tourists tend to travel during the summer months when temperatures are high. Horses pulling heavy loads on hot pavement are at risk of overheating, which may be exacerbated by high humidity, as well as infrequent watering, poor access to electrolytes, obesity, poor conditioning or illness.

You can find their entire statement here.

Victoria’s Horse-Drawn Carriages:
Concerns Over Safety,
Health and Appropriateness

This is a document presented to the City of Victoria in 2007 by Friends of Animals’ Shannon Elliott regarding the Horse Drawn Carriages and a request for a ban. Although Friends of Animals is no longer active in Victoria, this is a well documented proposal for a ban of the horse carriages with lots of essential information for anyone interested in the issue.


More Resources On The Way!