Stop Horse Drawn Carriages Horses injured taking carriage passengers in Melbourne, renewed calls for ban
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February 20, 2018

two injured carriage horses

Animal rights advocates have again called for a ban on horse-drawn carriages after two horses fell and were injured while taking passengers for a ride in Melbourne's CBD.

The driver of the carriage, Peter Hunter, said one of the mares slipped on tiles while it was taking passengers to Crown Casino along Queen's Bridge on Monday afternoon.

"What's happened is one horse has slipped and gone down and it's knocked the other horse over," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"Once that horse knocked the other horse over, that horse has rolled over the top of the other one."

He said nearby police helped remove the carriage from the horses and got them back on their feet.

"The harness and everything gets very, very tight and pulls the carriage up…and of course the horses are thrashing around so immediately you must undo the harness and remove the carriage and then get the horses up," he said.

One witness reported seeing blood on the ground after the horses fell.

Mr Hunter said there were "a couple of little grazes" on the horses' back legs but they drove home.

"There was a little bit of blood on the road, on the back hocks, but nothing major," he said.

Mr Hunter said he had worked in the industry for more than 20 years and had only had a similar incident once before.

The City of Melbourne stopped issuing permits to allow carriage operators to use the Swantson Street thoroughfare last year, blaming the move on construction from the Metro tunnel project.

Horse carriage operators are sill able to park and pick up passengers near the Arts Centre, south of the CBD.

They can also use city roads as they are considered vehicles and fall under VicRoads regulations.

Kristin Leigh from lobby group Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages said she was "immensely concerned" for the horses.

The group has claimed some horse-drawn carriage operators are flouting rules not to park along Swanston Street and said the council should do more.

"They are still … parking all over the city. The City of Melbourne is well aware of this," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"We believe they're trying to act, from what they've told us, but it all sounds like a bit of bureaucracy.

"In the process these horses are suffering and we have no doubt if there hasn't already been a death that there will be."

The Council has been contacted for comment.

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