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.