Ban on horse-drawn vehicles in the CBD is a welfare win

Published on 12 May 2022

RSPCA Victoria welcomes today’s announcement from the Minister for Transport that horse-drawn vehicles will be banned from Melbourne’s CBD from next month, calling it a win for animal welfare.

RSPCA Victoria has been advocating for a ban on the use of horse-drawn vehicles in the busy CBD for many years because of concerns for horse welfare and safety.

RSPCA Inspectors attended 48 cruelty reports concerning carriage horses over the past five years. Ongoing reports from members of the public indicate the community’s concern for their welfare. RSPCA is opposed to the use of any animal for the purpose of work, or training associated with such use, where injury, pain, suffering or distress is likely to be caused and advocates for the adoption of compulsory and enforced animal welfare standards and a registration and licensing system.

The ban announced today will take effect from mid-June 2022 and is a result of changes to read rules that will prohibit horse-drawn vehicles from all roads and paths within the area bound by Flinders Street, Spring Street, La Trobe Street and Spencer Street.

RSPCA Victoria’s Policy and Advocacy Manager, Mhairi Roberts said the ban is a step forward for the welfare of carriage horses. “We are so pleased to see horse-drawn vehicles banned in the busy CBD area of Melbourne, a welcome and significant step forward for the welfare of carriage horses.

“The CBD poses multiple welfare risks for horses including cars, trams, excessive noise, crowds and oppressive heat in warmer months, all while working on hard ground. All these risks are compounded when the horses are not accustomed to working in the city. Even one day of working in the CBD can result in poor welfare outcomes for carriage horses.”

RSPCA has advocated for the welfare of horses since its formation in 1871, which was prompted by concern for horses working in Melbourne. Since then, horse welfare has remained a priority for the RSPCA, including previous work with the Melbourne City Council and other key stakeholders to improve the welfare of carriage horses.

The ban on horse-drawn vehicles in Melbourne’s CBD indicates progress, however, the welfare of carriage horses operating in other areas of Melbourne remains a concern for RSPCA Victoria.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.

View RSPCA’s Policy on working animals on RSPCA Knowledge Base.

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