Five Horses Rescued by Mumbai Police Will Soon Move to New Sanctuary Home


For Immediate Release:

9 January 2018


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PETA Prevails in Custody Battle for Wounded, Exhausted Horses Seized in Illegal-Racing Sting

Mumbai – During a hearing on Monday, the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Andheri, awarded to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) interim custody of five horses who were rescued by police after being used in an illegal race. The court rejected the accused’s application for the custody of the horses, but they were allowed to take the carts.

PETA’s intervention application included health assessment reports by a team of two government veterinarians from the Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Department who examined the horses and found that they were suffering from malnourishment, wounds all over their bodies, and inflamed tendons, ligaments, and joints, among other health conditions. The veterinarians stated that if the horses are put back to work, their painful conditions will likely worsen to the point of permanent disability. Now that PETA has obtained custody of them, it will secure housing for them at a sanctuary in Sangli, where they can receive veterinary care and live free and untied.

“From protruding ribs to wounds from beatings, whippings, falls on hard pavement, and more, these horses’ ravaged bodies reveal the extent of their mistreatment,” says PETA legal associate Bhumika Aggarwal. “PETA looks forward to seeing them receive proper care at a spacious sanctuary, where they’ll never be forced to pull carts or race again.”

Police seized six horses on 26 December after intercepting the horse-drawn carts, which were reportedly racing along the Western Express Highway at Vile Parle East. Police booked the handlers for alleged rash and negligent driving and allegedly treating the horses cruelly and endangering their lives and those of motorists. Police took the horses to the cattle pound managed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Malad, and the next day, one of the horses was found dead. The post-mortem examination revealed that the animal had died of suffocation or asphyxia, because the rope tied to the neck was too tight. On 3 January, the court granted permission for PETA to step in temporarily to provide the horses with medical aid, food, and safe housing.

PETA pointed out in its application that the suspects, who were granted bail on 28 December, had violated the 2016 ban on tonga races by the High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur and the High Court of Bombay’s 2015 judgment that having horses in Mumbai is illegal, as none of the stables are licensed by the BMC. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – has called on the Commissioner of the BMC and the Police Commissioner of Mumbai to enforce the High Court of Bombay’s 2015 judgment and has offered to accept and rehabilitate any horses who are seized as a result. PETA also urged the BMC to implement the rehabilitation plan for horse-carriage owners and drivers as approved by the Maharashtra state government.

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