Before my recent trip to Victoria, I worried that as a vegan and animal-welfare activist, my options would be limited. However, upon arriving I was delighted to discover how vegan-friendly the entire city is. I ate at vegan restaurants and shopped at cruelty-free stores. One thing, however, very much disturbed me during my trip, and that was the copious use of horse-drawn carriages. Horse-drawn carriages are an unnatural, harmful entertainment. Busy, bustling Victoria is no place for a horse, and is far from the peaceful, rural enviornment a horse would be comfortable in. I was able to speak with a young woman who worked at one of the services, and she informed me that the horses work up to nine hours per day, and are carted in from their stable each morning, and carted back at night. This is stressful and frightening for the horses, and just like animals kept in captivity in the circus, it is not at all uncommon for working animals such as carriage horses kept in captivity to be driven completely insane due to stress, boredom and fear.
I watched the carriage horses in Victoria for quite some time, and was heartbroken to see that they are tied up for hours at a time, not able to roam free or socialize like they would naturally.These horses need to be retired from service pulling carriages day in and day out, and placed in sanctuaries to live the rest of their lives as horses should.
Animal rights activists in New York are already demanding that the use of carriage horses be banned in their city, and it's time that Victoria follow suit. As I'm sure you're well aware, in October of 2011 a New York carriage horse collapsed and died on 54th Street, New York as it was about to begin its shift. While as far as I'm aware this has not yet happened in Victoria, it's only a matter of time before Victoria's carriage horses become increasingly overworked and unhealthy and eventually succumb to the same sad fate. Because of this, I'm asking you to join me in insisting that the use of carriage horses be banned in Victoria, and that all current carriage horses be retired to reputable sanctuaries. Fifteen hundred signatures is a lofty goal, but I believe that together we can do it. Victoria's carriage horses work long hours, and fight through exhaustion, depression and boredom. While carriage horse services will claim that it is natural for horses to walk around and pull things, there is nothing natural about an animal having their freedom taken away. Please join me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart