Ban Horse Wagon & Carriage Rides in Ottawa
Ban Horse Wagon & Carriage Rides in Ottawa
It’s time for Ottawa to stop the outdated and unnecessary exploitation of horse-drawn rides and come up with more humane entertainment.
On November 23rd, 2021 the Ottawa Farmers' Market (OFM) announced they will be offering free horse carriage rides. The OFM immediately received over 80 comments on their Facebook page advocating that the horse wagon rides be cancelled. Sadly, the OFM board (chaired by Andy Lofthouse of Purebread Ottawa) decided to delete all comments, block anyone in the community from voicing their concerns, and post a video citing how well the horses were taken care of. A real community is based upon feedback from all members - in fact their own website states "We strive to cultivate meaningful connections with (and between) our customers, vendors, buskers, and volunteers", yet the OFM is attempting to silence animal advocates.
Further, The Ottawa Farmers' Market boasted that the horses are from Ash Meadow Farm Carriage Company which is a member in good standing with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), but the OFA has claimed that animals cannot think or feel. Horses are sentient creatures deserving of humane treatment.
Montreal and Toronto have permanently banned horse carriage rides. The BC SPCA has called for a provincial ban. The Vancouver Humane Society has created a campaign to ban horse carriage rides. The city of Victoria has received 40,000 signatures in their efforts to ban horse carriage rides. Niagara on the Lake has been subjected to protests by animal welfare advocates and also has a petition with over 20,000 signatures. Just this week another incident in New York has resulted in the mayor calling for a ban in the city as well, and they have been the focus of controversy for years.
Examples of Incidents in Media
Montreal | Stanley Park | Griffintown | Ogden Park | Quebec City
“Horse-drawn carriages are not a charming way for tourists to discover old Montreal – they are a subsidized form of animal cruelty, attracting negative reviews regarding our beautiful city.” - Nicholas Gilman, Montreal SPCA.
The following is a list of concerns:
Urban environments are busy and unpredictable which causes a safety risk to both animals and the public. There are dozens of incidents in which horses have been spooked by noises causing them to bolt. The use of blinkers/blinders can cause the horses to be startled, unaware of their surroundings. There is also a high threat of potential collisions with vehicles and cyclists. Between 2009 and 2015, at least sixteen Montreal carriage horses have died. It is important that Ottawa not wait until one of these awful incidents occurs before taking a stance.
Health & Welfare of Horses
There are multiple concerns about the health and welfare of horses, first and foremost that there is no guarantee that the horses will be up to the task. A for profit business operating off of the use of animals for entertainment may be unwilling to suffer financial loss by removing the horse from service. Health concerns begin with the long hours of standing and walking on hard surfaces that can cause lameness; salt-treated roads which can cause frostbite to the hoof; and the effects of air pollution and breathing in car exhaust. There are also concerns over the psychological wellness of horses that are unable to exhibit natural behaviours such as socializing with other horses, moving about freely and grazing.
“Horses deserve better treatment than to be forced to work in dangerous traffic
conditions every day, and often in harsh weather, where their lives and welfare are
threatened and the safety of pedestrians and drivers are put at risk.”
-Patrick Kwan, Humane Society of the United States
Lack of Regulation
In Ottawa, there are currently no regulations and no licensing or training required to operate a horse-drawn carriage or wagon business. There is no maximum time limiting how long horses are required to work for. This means horses are left vulnerable without any protection via inspection or enforcement. There are no standards that check for lameness, or if harnesses are fastened correctly (loose straps will rub and chafe the horse's skin, or too tight and they pinch) or if the horses have been fitted with new horseshoes as often as is needed. There are zero temperament assessment requirements to use a horse in carriage rides.
Please sign this petition and help us stop the outdated and unnecessary exploitation of horse-drawn rides. Ask the Ottawa Farmers' Market and City of Ottawa to work with community partners to develop a more humane entertainment option such as rickshaws decorated with holiday lights (which will also help employ dozens of workers). We must end this cruel practice.
You can send your concerns to the following decision makers:
Andy Lofthouse - Ottawa Farmers' Market Board CEO - email@example.com
Mark Goudie - Lansdowne CEO - MGoudie@oseg.ca
Shawn Menard - City of Ottawa Councillor (Capital Ward/Glebe) -firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Watson - City of Ottawa Mayor - Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca