LETTER: Horse-drawn carriage industry has the integrity council lacks

I’ve been a carriage driver for Tally Ho for three years now.

I’m not here to speak about the well-being of the horses. This information has been presented to council and it shows the horses are in the best working conditions and care.

READ ALSO: Victoria city staff tasked to determine work involved to phase out horse-drawn carriages

Yet here we are again, this time with another motion to use taxpayers money to look into replacing the industry.

The horse carriage companies of this city puts in around a million dollars every year into the local economy, through the employment of many young women, farriers, apprentice farriers, vets and local farmers for hay. Tally Ho happens to be owned by women, managed by women and mostly driven by women.

READ ALSO: Thousands sign petitions following proposal to phase out horse-drawn carriages in Victoria

Horse-draw carriages run on very little emission, versus an e-carriage which would need lithium and other metals mined. Metal mining is a notoriously unsustainable industry and often displaces vulnerable populations.

However, the carriage industry has been the highlight for many tourists for decades in this city. According to Victoria’s Strategic Plan, it’s an industry that could very well be one of the best ecotourism opportunities you can develop.

Ben Isitt stated in 2014 “my main goal is to ensure that local government is a positive force in our community, providing cost-effective infrastructure that supports people in leading healthy, active lifestyles, and pursuing development that creates affordable housing and economic opportunities while respecting Victoria’s heritage and leaving no one behind.”

What about the documented benefits of humans connecting to animals in nature? An e-carriage just doesn’t do that.

What about the heritage of the horse carriages in Victoria? Tally Ho has been in business 116 years and is part of the foundation of this city.

As far as leaving people behind, Isitt certainly will be leaving behind an entire community.

One of the philosophies of Tally Ho is family, the humans and horses alike. Last year I graduated from my acupuncture program, and even with her busy life, Donna Friedlander, the owner of Tally Ho, was there to cheer me down the aisle.

READ ALSO: New scholarship a memorial to Tally-Ho’s Larry Friedlander

That is what integrity looks like.

Kayla Balfour

Victoria

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