A petition calling for the Vancouver Park Board to remove the horse-drawn trolley from Stanley Park has gained nearly 3,000 signatures.
The petition, launched by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) and UBC Animal Justice, urges Park Board Commissioners to remove the horse-drawn trolley in the interests of public safety and animal welfare.
Petition authors note that in 2016, horses pulling a tram full of tourists through Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park were spooked by traffic. The frightened animals bolted off the roadway, crossing a bike path and smashing a park bench before nearly taking the tram over the seawall. And while no horses or people were seriously hurt, they argue such incidents could too easily occur in the future.
"Stanley Park’s horse-drawn tram is a tragic accident waiting to happen," writes the VHS.
"Being surrounded by motor vehicle traffic forces horses to inhale toxic exhaust and causes them mental distress, which can make the animals unpredictable and potentially dangerous to park pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles.
"There are also concerns about traffic being slowed in the lane currently allocated to motor vehicles, leading to motorists unsafely passing the tram in the lane allocated to cyclists."
The VHS notes that many cities, including Montreal, have banned such vehicles: "It’s time for Vancouver to do the same."
The Vancouver Humane Society and UBC Animal Justice have sent a letter to Park Board Commissioners calling on them to end the horse-drawn tram in Stanley Park and put the safety of the horses, cyclists, and motorists first.