PETA India has sent an explosive new assessment report, available for download here, to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and officials at the Home Department and the Animal Resources Development Department of the West Bengal Government as well as Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Kolkata police commissioner this week, describing the dire conditions of horses used in Kolkata’s horse-drawn carriage industry between November 2021 and March 2022. The new report establishes that since the first assessment last year, cruel practices such as forcing emaciated and injured horses to work continue and that the most severe injuries to horses are caused by being hit by cars and other vehicles, which often leads to slow, painful deaths.
PETA India’s new report assesses 20 horses who were found near the Victoria Memorial and under the flyover in Hastings. The findings include horses with a fracture or multiple fractures, a horse who collapsed on the road, horses with open festering wounds, a partially blind horse, and a horse who died from suspected rabies. Most of the horses were found to be severely emaciated and chronically malnourished, indicating that the majority of Kolkata’s horses have been starving for a long time and are routinely denied basic nutrition. The report points out that the horses are also denied proper farriery and veterinary services. The animals’ faeces strewn around the city also creates a tetanus risk and other health hazards for humans.
PETA India notes that using injured and malnourished horses for carriage rides violates The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The lack of a system for the collection and disposal of horse faeces is in apparent contempt of the Calcutta High Court. Through an order dated 22 January 2013, the court had directed that “measures be taken by the owners of each hackney carriage for removing dung excreted by the horses”.
PETA India’s efforts to shut down Kolkata’s cruel horse-drawn carriage industry include filing a public interest litigation at Calcutta High Court to prohibit the use of horses for tourists rides and marriage ceremonies, working with Kolkata police to register first information reports (FIRs) against horse owners for forcing debilitated, injured, or lame animals to work, and submitting its recommendations to the West Bengal government for a policy regarding the horses. Following complaints by PETA India and local group CAPE Foundation, three FIRs have been registered against horse owners.
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