PETA recently fired off letters to the Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Police Commissioner of Mumbai requesting that they urgently implement the 2015 and 2017 orders of the High Court of Bombay in Public Interest Litigation No 36 of 2011, Animals and Birds Charitable Trust and Others v Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Others, in which PETA is an intervener. These orders banned horse-carriage and joy rides in Mumbai.
PETA also requested the enforcement of provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, which requires the seizure of horses from unlicensed stables and those being used illegally for joy rides in the city. In 2015, the High Court of Bombay ruled that none of the stables for horses in the city possesses a licence under Section 394 of the MMC Act, 1888. In its letter to the BMC and the Mumbai police, PETA offered that – as other animal-welfare organisations have done – it would accept and rehabilitate horses to a sanctuary, if they were seized because of violations of law or the high court’s orders. This situation has become even more urgent in the wake of a recent preventable incident in which a 6-year-old girl lost her life during an illegal joy ride.
The 2015 High Court of Bombay order confirming that joy rides are illegal attained finality and conformity on 7 July 2017 when the court accepted the rehabilitation plan submitted by the Maharashtra government for horse-drawn carriage owners and drivers. The affidavit submitted by the state government in the rehabilitation plan states that the horse owners and drivers will be eligible for their choice of either a vendor licence under The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) (Maharashtra) Rules, 2016, issued by the Urban Development Department and a one-off payment of Rs 1 lakh or a one-off payment of Rs 3 lakhs. The affidavit also stated that the implementation of the rehabilitation policy is entrusted to the BMC.
PETA provided the High Court of Bombay with ample evidence of extreme cruelty to horses from its numerous investigations of Mumbai’s horse-drawn Victoria and joy-ride industry.