Mumbai’s iconic Victorias or horse-drawn carriages will soon be history, with the Bombay High Court ordering a ban on them within a year as they are “completely illegal”.
What is the reason behind this ban?
Various animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and People For Animals (PFA) have pointed out the problems faced by horses.
They also provided the court with the evidence of inhumanity done 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 dirty and weak stables. Reports further revealed that the horses were not given the proper amount of rest, water and veterinary care.
Several photographs were annexed to the petition. The HC was informed that horses were “forced” to work, were overworked and frequently suffered injuries.
What High Court said regarding this matter?
The high court directed all authorities to ensure that use of horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai shall be completely stopped after a year.
“We hold that the use of horse-driven carriages in Mumbai for joyrides is completely illegal. The activity of using horse-driven carriages only for joyrides solely for human pleasure is an avoidable activity. Horse-driven carriages only for joyrides is violative of Section 3 and 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” the bench said.
“The government shall also formulate a rehabilitation scheme for the horses. If any reputed animal welfare organisation comes forward to take care of these horses, then the state government is free to consider the same,” the court said.
“There is material on record in the form of opinion expressed by a large number of experts after visiting the stables that the same are in unhygienic conditions and the same lack the basic facilities for animal housing.” said the court.
The Court has instructed the government to chalk out a rehabilitation scheme for the approximately 700 families operating the business.
What PETA and PFA have to say?
“The High Court’s decision is an important victory, both for the horses who will soon no longer be forced to haul heavy loads through Mumbai’s busy streets and for the passersby, who will no longer risk being injured or killed because of these dangerous contraptions and the traffic hazard they cause”, said PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate.
“As PETA’s numerous investigations found, Mumbai’s Victoria industry is inherently cruel and dangerous, and we applaud the order of the honourable court to ensure that Victorias will ultimately no longer ply in Mumbai.” he added.
“All of us volunteers and the founder of PFA, Maneka Gandhi, are very happy to see an end to this daily, manic torture of hoofs on concrete roads. These horses were forced to pull heavy passenger load, apart from the heavy Victoria carriages, leading to early ligament ruptures, and other painful joint problems. These poor horses were also kept in pitiable conditions in slums which further complicated their health.” said a member of PFA
FableFeed also heartily welcomes the high court order to ban horse-driven Victorias from the city, as it will save the horses from extreme cruelties and other problems.
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