PEI·Your Comments

Should P.E.I. ban horse-drawn carriages? Your comments

A national animal rights group is calling for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in P.E.I. — something that has drawn a lot of attention and opinions from Islanders.

Some say 'the streets are no place for horses,' while others say horses are happier with a job to do

Emerald Isle Carriage Tours, which operates in Charlottetown, says it treats its horses with the 'utmost respect.' (Frankie L/Emerald Isle Carriage Tours/Facebook)

A national animal rights group is calling for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in P.E.I. — something that has drawn a lot of attention and opinions from Islanders.

Animal Justice says horse-drawn carriages should be "a thing of the past" and is calling for P.E.I.'s Animal Welfare Act to be expanded to include a ban.

The province said a ban wasn't considered when the act was drawn up last year, and that there are regulations around the treatment of horses to protect them.

Many of you weighed in on the issue with your own thoughts on CBC Prince Edward Island's Facebook page.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Working animals

"Horses deserve the right to live their lives out at pasture enjoying themselves and not forced into labour," said Camille Labchuck, CEO of Animal Justice.

However, some people commented that even if carriages were banned — the animals likely wouldn't live a life of leisure.

"Regulations and oversight for animal welfare is 100 percent OK, however, the perfect world in which a working animal can just be kept at zero cost to its owner is unfortunately not one that we live in," said Brendan Henry.

"Imagine buying a car, paying registration, paying insurance, paying the car payments, but someone comes up to you and says 'you can't drive that car, it should be allowed to just sit in your driveway for the rest of it's days'. You sell the car."

Emerald Isle Carriage Tours has eight horses, who live on a 37-acre farm in Crapaud. (Frankie L/Emerald Isle Carriage Tours/Facebook)

Many comments also suggested that the horses enjoy having a job to do.

"These horses are treated well and are healthier, happier animals because of the work they do," said Emily Richard. "It's like comparing a complete coach potato to someone who is active and eats right. You can't just graze horses their whole life in a field — they get fat, bored and frankly up to no good."

What about the Amish?

Many people pointed to the Amish — who use horse drawn carriages as a mode of transportation — and what a ban would mean to them.

"If they ban working horses from doing what they are bred to do, what happens to the Amish? The RCMP musical ride? Horse camps? Trail ride locations? Horse races? Do people not realise that this is a domino effect?" said Charley Burke. "The horses are bred to do this. Leave things alone."

Some comments questioned what a ban would mean for the Amish people who live in P.E.I. (Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise/AP Photo)

"People before us used horses for everything," pointed out Kara Lee."Give it a rest!"

'The streets are no place for horses'

Some comments raised concerns not about the workload the horses have — but about them being on the road.

"Horses should not be on busy streets. An accident waiting to happen," said Dale Fenerty.

'Horses should not be on busy streets. An accident waiting to happen,' one person commented on Facebook. (Frankie L/Emerald Isle Carriage Tours/Facebook)

"Please ban them — not for the horses' sake, just get off the road," said Jill Jenkins. "Horses have no place on the streets in downtown Charlottetown."

"Hauling tons of tourists through hot streets is ridiculous," said Gordon Lidstone. "Enough with the unnecessary cruelty to these beautiful animals … I'm not saying they shouldn't work, but the streets are no place for horses."

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