PETA Blames Inadequate Law Enforcement for the Health and Safety of Horses and the General Public Remaining at Risk
MUMBAI, (GNI): Today, a High Court of Bombay bench which included Justice V M Kanade and Justice A S Gadkari, granted the Maharashtra government a final opportunity to come up with a rehabilitation scheme for Victoria horse owners, drivers and horses. The counsel for the State of Maharashtra submitted that the government is in the process of finalising the scheme and that it will be shortly notified. The State government also assured that copies of the notified rehabilitation plan will be served to all parties prior to the next date of hearing. The counsel for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India argued that the horse carriages must be disallowed from Mumbai immediately because of numerous violations of traffic laws, and their endangering the health and safety of horses and the general public. However, the Court said it will finally dispose of the present application and disband Victorias once government scheme is in place. The matter is now listed for hearing on 2nd May 2017.
Few days back a Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Mumbai, granted interim custody of an abused horse to PETA India for further treatment and care. This horse was among a total of nine unfit, suffering horses who were seized from roads by Mumbai police and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)-authorised inspectors since July 2016. Most of these horses were malnourished and suffered from severe dehydration, painful arthritis, cracked hooves, and multiple fresh wounds that were deliberately hidden with black or white material.
“It is high time for the State government to implement the Honourable court’s order to rid our congested streets of Victorias”, says Dr Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs for PETA. “All of the Victorias the malnourished horses are made to haul while hobbling along on their often swollen, painful legs are unlicensed and pose a traffic threat to the public. We urge the government to protect citizens and horses alike by developing and implementing a rehabilitation scheme immediately.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – earlier provided the court with evidence of cruelty to horses from its numerous investigations of Mumbai’s horse-drawn Victoria industry. These reports revealed that the horses were often injured, sick or severely malnourished and that they were forced to stand amidst their own waste in filthy and decrepit stables. Reports further revealed that the horses were frequently denied adequate rest, water and veterinary care. Accidents involving horse-drawn carriages have caused numerous injuries, some of which have been fatal, such as the death of a 3-year-old child who was thrown from a carriage in Thane after a passing car startled a horse. A horse was critically injured after he collapsed because of exhaustion at the Gateway of India.
The 8 June 2015 judgment of the Bombay High Court ruled that using Victorias in Mumbai for so-called “joyrides” is illegal. The court also maintained that none of the stables for horses in Mumbai possess licences under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. In April, the Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition challenging the Bombay High Court order which stated that Victorias must be phased out within a year. Instead, it directed carriage owners to approach the Bombay High Court by way of a review petition and directed the Maharashtra government to present its rehabilitation plan for carriage owners and drivers. The Supreme Court also granted a six-month extension for the implementation of the Bombay High Court order, and this timeline ended on 24 October. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.