PETA India Replaced Horse-Drawn Carts With E-Rickshaws in Delhi

Posted on by Erika Goyal

In exchange for the surrender of five horses forced to work at Okhla sabzi mandi, Vinay Rawat, councillor from Peera Garhi and ex-chair, Rohini Zone, New Delhi Municipal Council, handed over the keys to specially designed e-rickshaws – courtesy of PETA India – to former horse cart owners at a celebration on 29 March. The e-rickshaws will help the former cart owners operate their fruit and vegetable businesses more effectively, while sparing the animals suffering. PETA India has arranged for the rescued horses to live out the rest of their lives at a sanctuary.  

PETA India’s Delhi Mechanisation Project a winner of the Giving Economy Changemakers Award works to protect animals, such as bullocks, donkeys, ponies, and horses, who are abused and forced to work and to provide the families using them with better livelihood opportunities. Since the project was launched in 2018, PETA India has replaced 40 tongas and 40 bullock carts in Delhi with battery-operated e-rickshaws and ensured the rehabilitation of the rescued animals at sanctuaries.  

There are approximately 250 bullocks labouring in 20 market yards and some 150 horses forced to haul carts in seven areas in Delhi. The animals are often forced to work even when they are sick or injured. Handlers use whips, painful nose ropes, and spiked bits to force them to haul overloaded carts. The animals are denied access to proper nutrition, adequate water, and shade from the blazing sun. They are typically worked until death and given no veterinary care for common painful health concerns, including wounds, abscesses, muscle and joint ailments, cancer, blindness, and yoke gall. 

The families benefitting from the Delhi Mechanisation Project report that using e-rickshaws has dramatically increased their earnings and enhanced their social and economic status. With the support of the Delhi government, e-rickshaw dealers, and finance companies, PETA India is working towards  making the city animal cart–free. The e-rickshaws allow former animal cart owners to avoid road restrictions that apply to animal carts and the disruption to their livelihood caused when sick or injured animals are unable to work. The Delhi Transport Department has framed guidelines for the operation and regulation of e-rickshaws in the city. The department also offers a subsidy of Rs 30,000 to e-rickshaw owners.