Illegal Joy Rides: PETA Joins In Offer of Sanctuary for Horses to be Seized by BMC

For Immediate Release:

9 November 2017


Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Group Urges BMC and Mumbai Police to Enforce Laws and Orders of High Court of Bombay Following 6-Year-Old Girl’s Death

Mumbai – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote 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 requests the enforcement of provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, which requires the seizure of horses from unlicensed stables and of those being used illegally for joy rides in Mumbai. 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 – as other animal-welfare organisations have done – to accept and rehabilitate horses at a sanctuary if they are seized because of legal violations or the High Court of Bombay’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.

“These malnourished, overworked, and exhausted horses are highly vulnerable to accidents and when they are forced to offer joy rides, both they and their riders are placed in immense danger,” says Dr Manilal Valliyate, equine veterinarian and CEO of PETA India. “The BMC and the Mumbai police must ensure that these horses are protected from suffering and that the public is protected from traffic accidents and other risks of injury.”

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 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 – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – 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.

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