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.
While freedom number one may be the most difficult to argue because the horses cannot tell us exactly when they are thirsty or hungry and must labor until they are fed or watered, it is likely that they must at times work without being free from thirst or hunger.
Freedom two states they must be free from pain, injury and disease. while a horse that is lame would unlikely be put to work, a horse that is only moderately injured may be forced to work regardless, check-ups are not required regularly enough under the BC SPCA guidelines for anyone to be sure. Furthermore, if emotional pain be included in the concept of ‘pain’ then the act of pulling a cart full of people in an unnatural environment and being unable to associate with other horses in a natural way for long hours would appear to fulfill this concept.
Freedom from distress is the third freedom and appears to be the most obvious cause for concern. With accidents involving the horse carriages happening year after year, there is no reason to doubt that these creatures are in distress by being surrounded by loud traffice and other loud noises such as landscaping machinery on the routes they travel. A horse can be spooked no matter how well it has been trained and in a stressful envrionent like the city it is more prone to reaction than anywhere else.
Freedom from discomfort also appears to undermined by the condition that the horses must operate under. Besides having to pull a heavy load, they are also harnessed into that load with no way of choosing their own path. They must also work as long as the driver feels they are capable, not being able to stop of their own accord because of any issues they may have related to discomfort. Furthermore, although their hooves are shoed, horses are not meant to walk on hard pavement for long hours. Thus, this is very bad for their bodies over the time they will work in the industry.
The final freedom, as mentioned by the BC SPCA, is that the horses should be able to express behaviours that promote well-being. However, horses are not city works and they are not meant to work nine to five and then have dinner, and spend some recreations time doing what they want before bed. Pulling carriages is not a behaviour that promotes well being. In fact, it endangers the lives of the horses, drivers, and pedestrians who must navigate this slow moving and awkward form of transportation on often congested and busy city streets.
With all of this in mind, the next step is what you can do to end this inhumane and dated practice from Victoria’s city streets. Please see the links above to connect with what you can do to get the horse-carriages off the streets.
Horses Carriages Stay Home
On Saturday Nov 22nd, 2014 activists from Victoria Horse-Carriage Resistance and Island Animal Liberation took to the streets where the horse carriage businesses usually operate to find the street empty.
A quick phone call to Victoria Carriage Tours confirmed that, after hearing a few other excuses, they were not going to operate until 3pm because they heard there was going to be a protest. They were right, and it is a huge success that they didn’t open up shop that morning and early afternoon because of the expectation of our presence.
We still came back later that night and respectfully protested the exploitation of the horses and sent a message that they can avoid us, but they can’t get rid of us.
Thank you to all the activists who came out this weekend and supported this cause! Stay tuned for more on this event and further activities…
Vancity Pulls Their Support.
Please email the BC SPCA and let them know you don’t support horse-drawn carriages and that you hope they don’t either! Tell them to make a specific posiiton statement on the issue, and that guidelines of care are not enough.
Tell the mayor and council that horse-drawn carriages do not belong in the city streets or anywhere else. Also, tell them that the B.C. SPCA’s guidelines are not enough and don’t address the unnatrual environment the horses must work in.
The Downtown Victoria Business Association is paying for free horse-drawn trolley rides through downtown Victoria during the holiday season. Let them know you don’t support them paying to put horses and the citizens in danger on city streets!
Report all carriage accidents
Did you witness a horse-carriage incident in the city or in your neighborhood? We would like to share your story or any pictures you have with the community to help raise awareness of the danger and unpredictability of this business.