Written by PETA
Representing PETA India and Animal Rahat, a panel of India's most
renowned equine veterinarians – who together have more than 32 years of
experience addressing India's most challenging equine welfare issues – came
together with Mumbai for Horses and People for Animals to make the case that
the only way to stop the abuse and suffering of horses used to pull carriages
through the streets of Mumbai and avoid the traffic hazards that they cause is
to enact an all-out city-wide ban on Victorias. The experts also explained that
passengers, drivers and pedestrians are injured and even killed when
horse-drawn carriages are involved in accidents.
Three equine experts – Dr Manilal
Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs for PETA India and member of the
Animal Welfare Board of India; Dr Avinash Kumar, a leading equine veterinarian
who has worked for The Brooke, an equine welfare charity; and Dr Chetan Yadav,
an equine veterinarian and leading animal welfare specialist working for Animal
Rahat – presented graphic, never-before-seen photos and video footage proving
that keeping horse-drawn carriages on the roads would only ensure that the
cycle of abuse continues.
Dr Valliyate explained that once horses lose
function in a joint, as happens quickly when they're made to walk on pavement
or haul heavy loads, more stress will be placed on their other joints, tendons
and ligaments. No veterinary medicine or surgery can cure this condition, and
it cannot be reversed. The equine veterinarians also pointed out that any move
to issue licenses to the city's currently filthy, decrepit and illegal stables
could subject the horses to various infectious diseases – such as glanders,
strangles, tetanus and equine influenza – and cause many animals to die.
used to haul a carriage despite painfully swollen joints.
Furthermore, despite an order from the Bombay
High Court that nongovernmental organisations be permitted to inspect horses
for signs of poor health or compromised welfare and report the matter to an
executive health officer and despite holding written authorisation from the
Animal Welfare Board of India – a statutory body under the Ministry of
Environment and Forests – to conduct such an inspection, a team of equine
veterinarians from PETA and Animal Rahat was harassed and prevented from
conducting inspections of the horses used to haul carriages in Mumbai by the
carriage owners and drivers and their lawyer.
Adding strength to the ongoing public interest
litigation filed by the Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, an intervention
application by PETA India has been accepted by the honourable High Court of
Bombay. In recent years, PETA has gathered substantial evidence of cruelty to
horses used for Victorias in Mumbai as well as the traffic risk that they pose
to citizens. A number of the group's celebrity supporters, including Hema
Malini, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez, have backed its call for a
ban on the Victorias.
"Forcing horses to haul tourists in carriages
through congested traffic is already banned in Delhi, Paris, London, Toronto,
Beijing and other cities", says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs
Dr Manilal Valliyate. "Most tourists despise the
cruelty to horses, and locals prefer forms of entertainment that do not harm
animals. A ban on Victorias is necessary and inevitable."
Pushed past the point of exhaustion, horses often collapse when they are
too worn out to continue and are repeatedly whipped in an effort to get them
back on their feet. PETA decided to intervene in the wake of growing concerns
from compassionate citizens regarding accidents in which horses have collapsed
and even died. A carriage horse was critically injured after he collapsed
because of exhaustion at Gateway of India in July 2012. Another horse died
immediately after being hit by a taxi in front of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
that same month.
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