By Jack Hayes
An incident on Grand Final Day aroused new tensions between the horse-drawn vehicle operators, Melbourne Against Horse-drawn Carriages activists and the City of Melbourne.
A teenager, who has since apologised for the incident, posted a video on social media of a horse lying on Swanston St, accusing its owner, Dean Chrichton, of neglect.
The teenager said he was too eager in posting the video and now recognised the animal had not been mistreated. Mr Chrichton explained the horse had been nipped on the neck by another horse causing it to fall.
The incident has reignited the debate between the three parties and has been heightened over the past weeks with the Melbourne Against Horse-drawn Carriage backers joining a “phone blockade” of the offices of Lord Mayor Robert Doyle – calling for a complete end to the trade.
There has been growing concern about horse-drawn carriages. The City of Melbourne says, even it wanted to, it was powerless to stop them because they were considered a vehicle by VicRoads.
The gathering momentum surrounding this divisive issue coincides with the start of Melbourne’s famed spring racing carnival.
The anti-carriage movement, spear-headed by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, will hold rallies on major carnival dates such as the Cox Plate, Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day.