Friday, May 23, 2014

Media Release & Action: Accident Renews Call for Horse Carriage Ban

Credit: CHEK News footage.

Accident Renews Call for Horse Carriage Ban

Victoria, BC - May 23, 2014 - After confirmed reports of a carriage horse throwing and injuring its driver and colliding with two cars and a motorcycle this evening, local activist group Carriage-Free Victoria is renewing their call on council to ban this industry.

Victoria-based animal activist Dave Shishkoff has been campaigning against Victoria’s horse carriage trade for over 8 years. He believes horse drawn carriages are cruel, out-dated and dangerous. “Tonight was extremely unfortunate, but it also was 100% preventable. With tourist season fast approaching, traffic levels are only going to increase. City council needs to take immediate action and pass a bylaw to prohibit horse-drawn carriages.”

Over the next few weeks, Shishkoff vows to expand his campaign to ban the horse drawn carriages in Victoria. “Social media, protests and filling City Council’s mailboxes with signed postcards from residents urging council to ban the horses will be priority number one. There are clearly safer and more humane ways to entertain tourists in our city”, Shishkoff adds. Over 500 post cards have already been sent to City Hall.

Currently there are only two horse-drawn carriage companies that operate in the City of Victoria, after a third was shuttered last year for not paying taxes.



Demand they take steps to ban the carriages before even more people or horses are hurt. Some suggested talking points:
  • It's an outdated and cruel industry.
  • It's hard on horses: walking all day on hard concrete is harmful for their bodies, as is breathing in traffic fumes, and the traffic is an obvious danger.
  • Too many accidents already have happened, and there's no system in place requiring accident reports, meaning the only accidents we hear about are the ones the media reports on.
  • Traffic downtown will only intensify as the tourist season progresses, increasing the potential danger of these incidents.
  • New York City is about to ban their carriages, and Victoria needs to follow suit.

Carriage-Free Victoria on Facebook:

Finally, remind them that there is an election this November, and you expect to see them address this issue as well.

Send your emails to:;;;;;;;;;

Credit: CHEK News
MEDIA COVERAGE (Check back for updates.)
Thank you for helping make Victoria a carriage-free city,

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)


  1. The Achilles Heel of the perpetuators of this abuse (as with most of humanity's sicknesses) is $$$$. To that end, WHEN will the insurance actuators speak up and admit that the coverage of this 'theme-park ride' in the midst of our city is untenable? I hope that carriage rider files a BIG FAT lawsuit against his employer. I hope that motorcyclist receives a MONSTER settlement (and a a new bike). Only when the true cost of this abuse is tallied will the money-changers finally yield to compassion.

  2. Clearly the horse was not trained and should never have been put between the shafts. Arent there any oversights into training standards, not to mention temperamentally suited horses?
    Those who want to banish the carriage trade, remember that the horses will more than likely go for slaughter if they don't have this job - so you'd better be prepared to follow them, adopt them, take care of them if you want to get rid of the carriages. I've got no use for people who clamour for the carriages to disappear, but have no intention of ever spending a cent on the now-homeless horses, and no clue about the horse slaughter industry.

    1. So if Roy (the horse) should never have been on the street, what does it say of his handlers? Are you making a case for them to be banned?

      This is a false duality - use them or they will be slaughtered. Well, many places that have carriages ALSO send them to slaughter. Even if Victoria is an exception (which we have no evidence of), this is like buying live lobsters at the grocery store: sure, you set one free, but you're only enabling the lobster trapper to go out and catch even more.

      If they aren't brought into the trade to begin with, then the demand decreases, and less are bred (and likely to end up slaughtered.) We moved from horse carriages to cars in the last century - are they still breeding the same number of horses, only to be sent to slaughter? No, breeding has diminished, and needs to continue that trajectory.

  3. I don't think you realize what exactly you're talking about here. Have you ever sought education on how the horses are cared for? I can already answer "no" on your behalf, because if you had, you'd have no case to be up in arms about. Have you ever told a 2,000-3,000lb animal what to do if it didn't want to do it? Trust me, he/she doesn't do it. Driving a carriage is one of the most natural jobs a horse can do. They pull from their shoulders, which is a natural movement that flows with the body. Racehorses break down way faster and have a much less happy life. These horses LIVE for their job. The drivers and owners do everything they can to protect the horses. The rubber encased shoes they wear protect their joints, and the light carriages we use are gentle on their bodies. All the drivers are passionate equestrians who would not stand by their employers sides if they believed anything going was cruel practice. Dogs walk downtown. Should that be banned? That's hard on their pads and they're breathing in the same fumes. How about the fact that the carriage was clipped by some idiot car driver who wasn't paying attention? How dare you decide the fate of 40+ workers, animals and the businesses that employee AND care for them.

    1. Thank you for your assertions and assumptions!

      You've made my point: if a horse wants to bolt, they're going to bolt. Why put the horse, and public, in danger for a silly tourist gimmick?

      I wish you were correct, but sadly the shoes do almost nothing for their joints, and the primary purpose is to offer them a bit more grip on the roads, according the horse vets.

      Dogs walk on leashes, horse carriages don't even have a proper brake, so there's nothing the driver can do when a horse is spooked.

      Much larger industries have been shut down, and people find new jobs. A lot of people were in an uproar, and had their livelihoods put at risk when the whaling industries were banned. We move on and do the right thing.

      The carriage companies know their days are numbered, and if they want to transport people around downtown to tell stories, then they need to find a new way to go about it. NYC has an interesting idea with the electric cars, and i just learned that there's an island connection: a big part of the electronics were designed up-island!

    2. Love the way you equate a living with horses to the whaling industry. Does everything with you ARA citiots have to be sensationalism. Yes, yes it does. Why - you have no facts or reason to back up your positions just emotion. A quick review of your website shows that you are an animal rights activist, not animal welfare. You have swallowed the Kool-Aid, and I know nothing will change your mind. However, what reasonable equestrians can do is use our funds and connections to ensure little twits like you do not rule the day.

    3. Love the way you can't follow a point. /sarcasm

      I didn't equate the whaling industry with living with a horse.

      My point was things become obsolete, and people and industries adapt. Rotary phones. CRT monitors. Diapers that fit boy babies differently than girl babies. Should we have kept producing rotary phones just because there were people still employed in that industry?

      You appear to be the one not setting a very good example for factual statements, fyi. Use of insults like 'twit' aren't welcome here, and won't be posting any further comments if they're of this tone.

  4. Are you people going to buy all the carriage horses? They will probably go to auction and then go to the slaughter house which is where they probably end up any way after they retire. There should be a rule that when they retire they have to be looked after until the end of their natural life. It wouldn't be so bad if they only went through a nice park area... Horses and vehicle do not mix well

    1. Our goal would be to have them sent to sanctuaries. If you're right, and they're sent to slaughter anyway, isn't the carriage industry just a feeder for slaughter then? Wouldn't banning the carriage trade ultimate reduce the number of horses sent to slaughter, if the initial demand is eliminated?

  5. Just wondering what will happen to the poor horses should this be banned, will they meet with a nasty and even crueler end, the slaughter pipeline. Don't get me wrong I'm so against using animals for human entertainment but I would also worry about what the owner will do with the horses when once not making him money.

    1. Part of our goal with this would be to have the horses sent to appropriate sanctuaries as well, where they can live in peace. Ultimately the carriage companies would have the say, since the horses are legally their 'property', but this is a part of our mandate, thanks for asking!


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