Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Follow-up On The Carriage Accident

It was a busy week on the carriage front, on Thursday we saw some more media, and coverage included this great clip from A Channel:

Long-time supporter Heather Steel also had her excellent letter published.

As well, there was a story from the Interior of 30 horses from a thoroughbred breeder's ranch who were destined for slaughter because he couldn't afford to keep them.

This exemplifies a core issue: the keeping, collecting and breeding of horses. Not unlike cats and dogs, horses are treated much the same, and the same over-population issues arise. Similarly, if the breeding were to stop, we'd see an end to all horse exploitation, including the carriages; as well as an end to these unfortunate situations where a horse is sent to a slaughterhouse (or a cat or dog 'put down'). Further, is this really just an ultimatum? Isn't the message here 'buy my horses or I'll send them to slaughter?' Feel free to discuss this, or post any of your thoughts in the comments section.

Also, Friends of Animals has started a Facebook page called Carriage-Free Victoria on this issue, join us here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carriage-Free-Victoria/142240729127464

Concluding last week's activities, our volunteers were out on Thursday and Friday, collecting signatures for our petition, handing out leaflets, and speaking to people who are concerned with our city's treatment of animals. Thanks to Sarah Kramer for joining us on Friday and bringing delicious cookies no less! Here's her report on the action including some photos.

Further, on Friday in the Times Colonist there was a piece on City Council reviewing animal bylaws, but there was no mention of the carriages, so we sent the following letter to Mayor Fortin and Councillor Thornton-Joe.

ACTION: please do take a moment to write them as well: mayor@victoria.ca and cthornton-joe@victoria.ca

Dear Mayor Dean Fortin and Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe,

Thank you for bringing animal bylaws to the forefront. Friends of Animals will support several of the proposed measures described by Bill Cleverley in the recent Times Colonist  piece, “Victoria to rein in animal care with review of control bylaw.” Notably, we see no mention of the horse-drawn carriages in the article, although they necessitate immediate action from the council. Horse-drawn vehicles should be banned from the streets of Victoria, as an accident last Monday shows: there is inherent danger, as well as an ethical problem, in having horses in Victoria’s streets. It was dumb luck that no people were injured. In a stunning show of insensitivity, the carriage owner said Wes the horse would be back on the street working in a day or two -- after being dragged along Dallas Road by another horse attached to the carriage. What a horror show for visitors of Victoria to have to endure, and what terrible news for the international media to report about our city.

Nor are such scenes unusual when horses and traffic mingle.  A few weeks ago in Iowa, two carriage horses broke free, killed one person, and injured dozens, including children. In New York City last year a horse was killed after being startled and breaking into traffic, and several more horses were injured over the summer. Right now they’re forced to pull tourists around in the heat wave, apparently oblivious to temperature regulations and basic standards of decent treatment.

Victoria would not be the first city to ban the carriages, and could be an example of enlightenment by ensuring the horses are places safely in sanctuaries. Effecting these changes would raise the status of Victoria, and ensure that neither horses nor people can be injured or killed in this ridiculous and antiquated shtick.

On behalf of the international advocacy group Friends of Animals, I request that you address this in your proceedings, and I would also like to know if there’s any way I or the public can participate.

Very truly yours,
Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg


  1. Note: the TC story has 'vanished', and the URL no longer works. Thankfully Google Cache has it, and i've pasted the URL and original story below.


    Victoria to rein in animal care with review of control bylaw
    By Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist
    July 21, 2010

    Everything from limiting the number of cats allowed in a household to a ban on leaving dogs in cars in the summer heat will be up for debate by Victoria councillors this week as part of a sweeping revamp of its animal control bylaw.

    Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, an animal rights advocate, called for quick action, noting there hasn't been a comprehensive review of the bylaw since 1992.

    "It makes it easier for animal control to respond to the situation and not have to wait until an animal is in dire stress before they can react," she said. Among other things, she'd like to see regulations prohibiting people from exercising their dogs while riding their bikes.

    Mayor Dean Fortin said council should consider barring the sale of unsterilized rabbits, along with mandatory cat sterilization. "I think animal overpopulation is something that's in the public's mind and one within the region that we need to deal with collectively." In January, council asked staff to review the bylaw and suggest amendments. Among recommendations:

    - Prohibit animal abandonment.

    - Impose basic standards of animal care.

    - Prohibit leaving an animal unattended in an enclosed space without sufficient ventilation.

    - Impose requirements for secure transport of animals.

    - Prohibit tying an animal by a rope or a chain that is directly tied around its neck or to a choke collar.

    - Require secure enclosures for outdoor rabbits and chickens.

    Amendments being considered -- subject to more research -- would:

    - Prohibit exercising dogs while operating a vehicle or riding a bicycle.

    - Prohibit keeping a dog on a traffic island.

    - Limit the number of cats or rabbits that can be kept in one household.

    - Require cat identification.

    - Require pet stores to provide disclosure of the origin and medical history of animals to purchasers.

    City staff are also recommending rules for keeping bees and chickens.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

  2. More details on the city proposals:


  3. A story that also appeared in the Victoria News:


    Victoria News
    Council eyes leash for animals
    By Roszan Holmen - Victoria News

    Published: July 20, 2010 7:00 PM
    Pet owners can walk around town with their snake around their neck, slaughter chickens in their backyard, or feed seagulls to their heart’s content in Victoria

    Without breaking any city bylaws, pet owners can also keep their animal in substandard living conditions and can abandon it if they wish.

    Compared to many other jurisdictions, Victoria is the wild west of pet ownership.

    But that’s about to change.

    City council launched a large-scale review of its animal control bylaws last week, with the intention of adopting sweeping changes by January.

    Carol Broad, of Victoria Adoptables, urged the city to adopt restrictions on the sale of pets.

    “Spay and neuter is a huge issue,” said Broad. “Every municipality is overloaded with cats and kittens. We get calls all the time.”

    Victoria Adoptables is an umbrella organization including many rescue operations.

    Broad said the cost of sterilization should be included in the price of a pet, such as cats, rabbits and dogs.

    As well as addressing animal welfare and overpopulation issues, the city’s review also addresses animal nuisance and danger problems. Some of the recommendations come as a bad surprise to chicken owner and educator Billy Metcalf.

    While he applauds bylaws to ensure the proper care of chickens, Metcalf objects to a minimum lot size to keep chickens and a cap on the number allowed.

    “I don’t think of chickens as pets, I think of this of this … (as a step towards) food security,” he said.

    The new bylaws under consideration also aims to bring fees in line with actual control costs. In 2009, animal control cost $419,000, nearly triple the amount collected through licence, impound, maintenance and adoption fees and penalties.


    Changes in the works

    Victoria city staff have compiled a list of 14 recommended bylaw amendments and 15 more controversial items for consideration. Here are some highlights from both categories:


    • prohibit animals from roaming on public property

    • require secure enclosures for outdoor chickens and rabbits

    • require secure confinement of dangerous dogs in backyards

    • restrict bee keeping by number, size and location of hives


    • prohibit exercising dogs from a car or bike

    • limit household cats and rabbits

    • require pet stores to divulge origin of animals

    • prohibit feeding birds in a way that causes nuisance

    • prohibit sale of rabbits, or unsterilized rabbits

  4. Another story in the Vic News:



Thanks for sharing your thoughts, comments will be reviewed before posting. Use our contact page if you'd like to contact us directly.