PETA Intervenes in Litigation Against Victoria Horse Carriages

For Immediate Release:
5 July 2012

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

A Ban on Horse Carriages Is the Only Solution to Stop Suffering, Says Group

Mumbai – Adding strength to the ongoing public interest litigation filed by the Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, an intervention application by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India was accepted by the honourable High Court of Bombay today. PETA has in recent years gathered substantial evidence of cruelty to horses used for Victoria horse carriages in Mumbai as well as the traffic risk that they pose to citizens. Several of the group’s celebrity supporters, including Hema Malini, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez have backed its call for a ban on the Victorias.

“Forcing horses to haul tourists in carriages through congested traffic is already banned in Delhi, Paris, London, Toronto, Beijing and other cities”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Most tourists despise the cruelty to horses, and locals prefer forms of entertainment that do not harm animals. A ban on Victorias is necessary and inevitable.”

PETA decided to intervene in the wake of growing concerns from compassionate citizens regarding accidents in which horses have collapsed and even died. A carriage horse was critically injured after he collapsed because of exhaustion at Gateway of India on 3 July 2012. Another horse died immediately after being hit by a taxi in front of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on 1 July 2012. Another carriage horse collapsed at Kala Ghoda on 2 May 2011, and The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescued the animal. On 8 September 2011, a horse pulling a carriage collapsed from exhaustion and was unable to stand for 20 minutes. On 14 November 2011, another horse pulling nine riders on a Victoria cart collapsed at the Gateway of India. The group intends to point out in court that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi already made the landmark decision to ban tonga horses in the city in 2009 and recently scrapped a proposal to use ceremonial horse carriages for tourist rides.

Horses used to pull carriages are typically fed unwholesome food and given dirty drinking water – when any food or water is given to them at all. They are made to live in filthy, damp stables amidst their own faeces and urine and often left to stand without any shade. Horses are forced to carry heavy loads through crowded streets and sweltering heat. Pushed past the point of exhaustion, they often collapse when they are too worn out to continue and are repeatedly whipped in an effort to get them back on their feet. Many horses suffer from untreated injuries, and most will never see a veterinarian in their entire lifetime. Horses used to pull carriages are also often kept illegally, without a valid license. Regulations pertaining to animals forced to work are almost never enforced.

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