Injured, Starving, and Exhausted
Recently, PETA India and the Cape Foundation, Kolkata, conducted an in-depth study of the horses used to haul carriages on the Maidan (Brigade Parade Ground), Kolkata, and the area in front of the Victoria Memorial, at the Queens Way Gate.
Despite often being obviously wounded, lame, emaciated, or sick – struggling horses are still forced to pull heavy carriages full of passengers. The horses used for these tourist rides are also commonly whipped and beaten, obliged to haul carts all day in the heat and other weather extremes, and given no other option but to stand in their own waste, breathing in exhaust fumes. They go for long periods without food or water, leading to physical exhaustion and other serious health problems.
Many horses have severe injuries, including fractures and lameness, likely caused by being struck by cars and other vehicles. While most of the horses are left to find their own food on the Maidan (Brigade Parade Ground), some are completely abandoned once they’re considered no longer fit for work. Starving, they often wander into the road in search of food and get hit by a vehicle. Many of them eventually endure a prolonged, painful death without any veterinary treatment.
The horses’ body conditions were assessed, and all of them were given a score of “thin” or “very thin”. This indicates that the majority of Kolkata’s horses used for these rides have been starving for a long time and are routinely denied basic nutrition.
Blood work was performed on these horses: 100% of them had below normal red blood cell counts, and 80% had below normal haemoglobin levels. Both of these parameters indicate severe anaemia and starvation.
Malnourished horses with depressed immunity who are tethered in an unhygienic environment can contract infectious and deadly diseases, such as glanders, which can cause death in humans.
Accidents Waiting to Happen
The use of horse-drawn carriages on congested roads is dangerous to both the horses and the public. Numerous news reports document that traffic accidents involving horses are very common in Kolkata, where both animals and humans have been seriously injured or even killed.
Eco-friendly electronic carriages are a safe, modern, humane alternative to horse-drawn carriages.
Help End Horse Suffering
Kolkata’s horse-drawn carriages are inherently cruel, and the animals are worked to exhaustion or even to death. They are starved and denied water and veterinary care. Many sustain severe injuries, including fractures, when hit by cars and are often simply abandoned to fend for themselves. Many suffer terribly because of abuse and neglect.
Allowing these rides to continue puts both horses and the public at risk. Congested city streets are no place for horses.
Won’t you please replace the use of horses with eco-friendly electronic carriages?