Victoria city council hears debate over horse-drawn carriage tours

More than 900 people have signed a petition from the Victoria Horse Alliance group to request that the city cease operation of horse-drawn carriages in Victoria on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA - Debate over horse-drawn carriage rides in downtown Victoria, B.C., is heating up.

The owner of Victoria Carriage Tours appeared at a city council meeting on Thursday to defend the industry after an animal rights group started an online petition looking to ban the rides.

Katarina Gallagher says she has was blindsided by the petition, which alleges there has been poor maintenance of equipment, reckless driving of the carriages and improper care of the horses.

Gallagher says the "unfounded" and "vague" accusations about inadequate care and reckless driving are baseless and constitute fear mongering.

More than 900 people have signed the petition, and several speakers aligned with animal rights group "Victoria Horse Alliance" addressed council Thursday, saying they support the ban.

There are currently two carriage companies in the city, Tally Ho Carriage Tours and Victoria Carriage Tours, that have a total of 52 horses and employ roughly 70 people.

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