Bombay High Court Gives State Government Two More Months to Submit Delayed Rehabilitation Plan for Victoria Drivers And Horses

For Immediate Release:
4 May 2017

Manilal Valliyate  [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari  [email protected]

PETA and PFA Informed the Court That Horses and Humans Are Suffering Because of the Delay

Mumbai – Today, a Bombay High Court bench which included Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice GS Kulkarni granted the Maharashtra government, upon the request of the state’s counsel,two more months to submit its already long-delayed rehabilitation plan for carriage owners, drivers, and horses so that Victorias can be removed from Mumbai roads. The counsel for animal protection groups including People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and People for Animals (PFA) informed the court that the state government’s delay in proposing a rehabilitation plan was causing horses to suffer and leaving residents in danger. The matter will now be listed in the first week of July.

“How many more abused horses will collapse before the Maharashtra government implements the 2015 Bombay High Court judgment that Victorias must be removed from Mumbai roads?”, asks Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA’s director of veterinary affairs. “With a very hot summer ahead, only the state government can prevent exhausted, dehydrated horses from falling in traffic and residents from getting hurt.”

On 3 April 2017, a Bombay High Court bench which included Justice AS Oka and Justice AKMenondismissed the review petition filed by horse-carriage owners calling for the Victoria ban to be overturned, in response to the 8 June 2015 judgment of the court. With the dismissal, the court firmly reiterated that the ban on horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai remains in place (pending implementation). The 8 June 2015 judgment ruled that using Victorias in Mumbai for so-called “joyrides” is illegal. The court also maintained that none of the stables for horses in Mumbai possesses a licence under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. In April 2016, the Supreme Court granted a six-month extension for the implementation of the High Court order, and this timeline ended on 24 October 2016.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – provided the Bombay High Court with evidence of cruelty to horses from its numerous investigations of Mumbai’s horse-drawn Victoria industry. It revealed that horses were often injured, sick, severely malnourished, and forced to stand amidst their own waste in filthy and decrepit stables. Reports further documented that they were frequently denied adequate rest, water, and veterinary care.Accidents involving horse-drawn carriages have caused numerous injuries, some of which have been fatal, such as the death of a 3-year-old child who was thrown from a carriage in Thane after a passing car startled a horse. And a horse was critically injured after collapsing because of exhaustion at the Gateway of India.

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