Mumbai Police Seize Three Unfit Horses from Unlicenced Victoria Carriage Drivers

For Immediate Release:
19 December 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Animal Welfare Board of India–Authorised Inspection Was Conducted With the Help of PETA and Animal Rahat

Mumbai – Yesterday, Marine Drive police – with the support of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)–authorised inspectors, including a veterinarian from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and a senior animal-welfare officer from Animal Rahat – seized three Victoria carriages and three horses from drivers who could not produce necessary licences. The animals were malnourished and suffered from painful arthritis, cracked hooves, and multiple fresh wounds that were deliberately hidden with black material. They also weren’t shod, which caused their soles to be worn down, predisposing them to painful foot conditions such as laminitis (inflammation of the sensitive membrane inside the hoof). Police seized the Victorias from Netaji Subhash Marg, where their entry is prohibited, as per the directive of the joint commissioner of traffic police under The Bombay Police Act, 1951. The horses were sent to The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hospital in Parel for necessary veterinary treatment and care as well as much-needed rest. A total of nine unfit, suffering horses have been seized from Mumbai roads since July by AWBI-authorised inspectors.

Photographs of the recent raid are available upon request.

“Victorias continue to pose a serious threat to the health of horses as well as the safety of the public, because horses and cars don’t mix”, says Dr Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs for PETA. “PETA and caring members of the public demand that the Maharashtra government stop dragging its heels and submit a rehabilitation plan for the drivers and the horses.”

Accidents involving horse-drawn carriages have caused numerous injuries, some of which have been fatal, including the death of a 3-year-old child who was thrown from a carriage in Thane after a passing car startled a horse.

According to sections 3(1), 8(1), and 11(1) of The Bombay Public Conveyances Act, 1920, horse-drawn carriages, horses, and drivers, respectively, are to be licenced by the traffic police. However, the 8 June 2015 judgment of the Bombay High Court ruled that using Victorias in Mumbai for so-called “joyrides” is illegal since they aren’t being used for the purpose of conveyance of persons or goods and, therefore, don’t meet the definition of “public conveyance” under the 1920 law. The court also maintained that none of the stables for horses in Mumbai possess licences under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. In April, the Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition challenging the Bombay High Court order which stated that Victorias must be phased out within a year. Instead, it directed carriage owners to approach the Bombay High Court by way of a review petition and directed the Maharashtra government to present its rehabilitation plan for carriage owners and drivers. The Supreme Court also granted a six-month extension for the implementation of the Bombay High Court order, and this timeline ended on 24 October.

For more information, please visit