Sidney council has received a trio of letters in opposition to seasonal horse-drawn carriage rides as the controversial subject has spilled over from Downtown Victoria (Black Press File).

Sidney council has received a trio of letters in opposition to seasonal horse-drawn carriage rides as the controversial subject has spilled over from Downtown Victoria (Black Press File).

Former resident accuses Sidney of promoting the exploitation of horses

Supporters of seasonal horse-drawn carriage rides say horses receive care with safety paramount

A familiar critic of horse-drawn carriage rides accused Sidney of “promoting the exploitation” of horses by allowing the rides in the community as part of holiday festivities.

Kari Sloane, a former Sidney resident who has been critical of the industry in Victoria, said in a letter to Sidney council that “promoting and hosting” horse-drawn carriage rides represents an “outdated practice that doesn’t align with Sidney’s values” in questioning the value of such rides in a compact community like Sidney.

“Promoting horse-drawn carriages is, in short, promoting the exploitation of horses,” she said. Animal activists including Sloane have asked the City of Victoria to ban horse-drawn carriage rides citing a number of issues including traffic and heat exhaustion on the part of the animals. Officials with BCSPCA are currently reviewing rules around horse-drawn carriage rides in the City of Victoria after the organization initially called for a ban.

RELATED: Victoria considers limiting where horse-drawn carriages can go

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

Sidney council also received letters from Natasha Illi and Jennifer Forberg, striking a similar note to Sloane’s complaint. Illi said horses do not belong on city streets, while Forberg called the practice “archaic” and “embarrassing” in referring to Victoria. “This is 2019, and we should be looking to be progressive, and stop exploiting animals.”

The letters themselves appear in the public document for Sidney’s regular council meeting Monday night. This said, these complaints might represent the definition of the horse having left the barn, at least when it comes to stopping the rides this year.

Victoria Carriage Tours offered free rides Saturday as part of the Sidney Merchants’ Open House. Interested parties can also book rides through downtown Sidney on Saturdays and Sundays between Dec. 1 and 23 from noon to 4 p.m.

Sidney, meanwhile, rejects Sloane’s argument. “While staff appreciate the concerns that you raise, we do not believe that the horses associated with the business Victoria Carriage Tours are, in any way being exploited or abused,” said Randy Humble, chief administrative officer in responding to Sloane. Humble described Victoria Carriage Tours as an “established commercial horse-carriage operator” with “considerable experience in operating horse-drawn carriages in an urban environment where safety is paramount.” Humble said staff understand that veterinarians regularly check the horses to ensure their health and well-being.

He also rejected comparisons between horse-drawn carriages operating in Victoria and Sidney in noting that Sidney has less traffic, slower speed limits and a “much smaller” downtown.

“Finally, because this will only be a seasonal operation over the Christmas holidays, excessively high temperatures will not be an issue for the horses,” he said.

Morgan Shaw, executive director and event liaison/facilitator with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society, said carriage rides have been running in Sidney during the Christmas season “for four years now with great success,” adding her organization works closely with the municipality to ensure Sidney is festive and welcoming during the Christmas season for residents and visitors alike.

“Animal care and safety, specifically regarding horse drawn carriage tours in our downtown area, remains of utmost importance to the Sidney BIA Board,” she said. “The Sidney BIA continues to work closely with Victoria Carriage Tours to ensure all regulations are met and exceeded for their annual visit to our community.”

The company said in a press release that its “operations incorporate a well-balanced strategy developing the wellbeing of our horses” in quoting a general BCSPCA stance on animal welfare, which states that animals “experience good welfare when they are able to experience positive feelings arising from pleasurable activities and the fulfillment of behavioural needs, and when they are free from poor physical health and negative feelings” like pain, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear and frustration.

“Our carriage operations, in conjunction with our business as a whole, meet and exceed the criteria listed above,” it reads.

Victoria Carriage Tours said in its release that its horses live in a herd environment on a Brentwood Bay farm.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Eligible non-profit organizations and charities apply for support through North Saanich’s COVID-19 relief until Feb. 12.(Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich lays out criteria for grants to non-profits

Eligible applicants can apply for an unlimited amount to help ease effects of COVID-19

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read