A horse who was forced to pull a carriage through Melbourne collapsed and died on the street.
Photos taken by an eyewitness and shared with Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages show the dead horse covered with a blanket on the road while still harnessed to the carriage. The dead animal’s carriage mate was left to stand beside the body.
RSPCA Victoria is investigating. Meanwhile, Unique Carriage Hire issued a statement saying that it believes the horse died of a heart attack.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said he was saddened by the images and encouraged people to report the mistreatment of animals involved in horse-drawn carriage services to the RSPCA.
But anyone who sees a horse-drawn carriage on a busy city street is witnessing cruelty.
Horses are prey animals who can startle easily – they don’t belong on busy central business district roads with modern traffic. And while not working, these animals are regularly kept in yards with inadequate space in the inner city.
©Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages
In 2019, a Melbourne carriage driver was filmed kicking a horse in the head after the animal slipped on the road and struggled to rise.
In addition to the immense suffering that this industry causes horses, accidents occur all the time, resulting in injuries to cyclists and carriage passengers.
In 2017, the Melbourne City Council announced that it would no longer issue permits to horse-drawn carriage operators, but operators are still permitted to drive carriages through the city as long as they don’t sell tickets on the street. However, the removal of the street trading permits hasn’t been enough to deter carriage operators, and VicRoads considers the horses to be “vehicles”.
It’s clear that Melbourne urgently needs to ban horse-drawn carriages. They’re not romantic or fun – especially for the horses – and they can be both dangerous and deadly.
Please join us in urging the Victorian Government to take action now: