The horses working for Victoria horse carriage industry are regularly in distress and danger on the streets of Victoria, B.C.. In the summer months, this is exacerbated as they face increased pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic, and higher temperatures. Incidents were regularly witnessed in the small fraction of time we were able to view them. We documented what we could and raised our concerns publicly, but the City of Victoria continues to fail to take action.
Here is a breakdown of some of the many incidents we were able to document with Victoria horse carriages from June to Sept, 2016. We would like to thank the many concerned citizens who reported inhumane operation of the horse carriages or horses in distress.
June 7th: Carriage driver seen driving tourists in moving traffic while on cell phone. Police report filed. Response is that motor vehicle laws do not apply to them. A dangerous double standard is left unregulated.
July 23rd: Horse documented being harassed by tourists while trying to reach food and water. A driver moves the horse’s food, but the horse still does not have access to water on a hot day.July 23rd: That evening a pedicab driver is documented being pulled by a horse carriage with their own tandem bike loaded with tourists. Pedicab company contacted and they acknowledged that pedicab drivers should never engage in this kind of reckless behaviour and any further evidence of this type of behviour would lead to suspension. July 24th: Horses documented without water, backing into other horses because of poor carriage operation by carriage drivers.
Aug 3rd: Concerned citizen contacts us about a horse carriage operating without a shoe on one hoof. Carriage driver responds she knows, but can’t do anything about it and continues driving.Aug 7th: Horse seen in distress likely due to the effect of the bit in his mouth, tongue sticking out in discomfort and shaking his head. Also, seven passengers were riding in this horse carriage, which is over the City’s limit of six. Drivers say this is normal behaviour, but has not been documented previously. Report filed with the BCSPCA.
Aug 15th: Horse carriage horse in training documented as having unprofessional and unclear signage notifying drivers they are behind a horse in training. No regulations about how far back is appropriate or proper signage.
Aug 19th: During a heat warning in Victoria, a carriage horse broke free of the carriage and was in distress in James Bay. Despite the driver reporting that everything was fine, further reports emerged that “Before police arrived a man in an SUV drove up and wanted to know where the passengers were and then drove away quickly with them in his vehicle as the police were pulling up.” The witness was shaking for hours afterwards. There is no regulations on working temperatures for the horse carriages in Victoria. Click the image to read the whole story.
Link to CTV News Article on the incident.
Aug 30th: Again at the intersection of Wharf and Pandora, a horse spooked waiting at the traffic light and the driver struggling to maintain control. From the witnesses description: “Just observed this “driver” attempting to run this horse through a yellow light. Decided it wouldn’t make through and made him come to a screeching halt (literally) with a carriage of 3 people at store and Pandora. She then did the exact same thing at the next light.”
Sept 24th: During the security preparation for the arrival of the duke and duchess of Cambridge a horse was documented in distress for several minutes while police ran their drills and the horse was trapped at the intersection.
This does not include further documentation of the horse’s hooves not being properly maintained.
Thankfully, we were able to provide resistance to the exploitation of these animals in the form of a billboard campaign and multiple demonstrations for which we garnered tremendous public support for. This is a battle that is being waged in many communities with politicians failing to protect these animals. Montreal, New York, Italy, and beyond all are fighting to end this inhumane and exploitative industry in their communities.
However, the City of Victoria continues to deny any concerns with the operation of the Victoria horse carriages despite the evidence. It is up to you to contact them and let them know that the evidence is clear; the horse carriages are an unacceptable business to be operating in the modern world and it is time to ban them for the welfare of the horses and the community. You can also help by signing the petition on Change.org.
Thank you for your time and help. Together, we will make a difference.
Victoria Horse Alliance