Victoria City Council asked for advise from the BCSPCA on how to move forward with the horse-drawn carriage industry. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria City Council asked for advise from the BCSPCA on how to move forward with the horse-drawn carriage industry. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria considers limiting where horse-drawn carriages can go

Council put forward several queries to the BCSPCA for consideration

Victoria City Council has chosen the seek further input from the BCSPCA before making any final decisions on changes to the horse drawn carriage industry.

In a committee of the whole meeting Thursday morning, council heard from BCSPCA representatives Amy Morris, manager of policy and companion animals and Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer.

The two reiterated the messages from two previous letters, dated May 28, 2018 and July 25, 2018 which outlined a desire to take a solutions-based policy approach to review existing practices and offer more safety for working horses. The letters also outlined a need to change where exactly horses are working to avoid high-traffic areas.

ALSO READ: BC SPCA recommends ban of horse-drawn carriages from downtown Victoria streets

“We do not have a position or statement saying that a horse’s welfare can’t be met by being a working horse,” Moriarty said. “I do think there’s an opportunity to meet the five freedoms, and what that looks like though is up for discussion. “

The BCSPCA’s five freedoms include freedom from hunger and thirst; from pain, injury and disease; from distress; from discomfort, and the freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.

As a result of the discussions, city council voted to send a series of inquiries to the BCSPCA for recommendations. The motion was put forward by Coun. Ben Isitt, despite his own personal preference on the situation.

“I personally favour transitioning the industry to propulsion by non-horse means,” Isitt said, adding that he realized this wasn’t agreed upon by the majority of council. “I think we are going to have to look at some measures that don’t go as far as a phaseout, but look to reduce the risk.”

READ MORE: Victoria city councillor proposes to phase out horse-drawn carriages

The city sought input on three points. The first was whether carriages should be reduced to vehicles which only use one horse, an idea that the BCSPCA put forward in its May 28 letter.

The second is to limit the geographical areas where horses are permitted, with initial suggestions limiting the area to a northern border of Humboldt Street, Cook Street to the east, Dallas Road to the south and Victoria Harbour to the west.

“This would be somewhat balanced because it includes streets in the downtown core… [and] does provide the opportunity to go around the signature tourist attractions,” Isitt said. “It would entail the elimination of Government Street and Chinatown…I think we’re just seeing too much conflict, particularly in vicinity of the new bridge and from motor vehicle congestion.”

Lastly, council also asked for recommended working conditions for horses, including maximum temperatures and humidity.

Council voted to receive the BCSPCA’s comments when they receive the next quarterly update from staff, so at the time they would have a better understanding of the staff’s workload. Currently staff are set to prioritize the city’s bike network, Go Victoria and the city’s strategic plan.

On Thursday morning the Victoria Horse Alliance, a group of local advocates, submitted a petition with 40,000 signatures advocating for the total banning of all horse-drawn carriages, though this was not part of council’s discussion.

“[T]his issue is not going to go away until the horse carriages are banned,” said founder Jordan Reichert in an emailed statement. “They seem more interested in appeasing industry than listening to the authority on animal welfare in this province.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

City of Victoriahorse carriages

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Nearly 2000 BC Hydro customers in East Sooke lost power around 1 p.m. on Jan. 20. (BC Hydro)
UPDATE: Power restored to nearly 2000 East Sooke residents after blasting

Blasting caused power pole to move and faulted the circuit Wednesday

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Most Read