Horse-drawn carriages draw PETA IRE

After sunset, horse-drawn carriages take over the streets and by-lanes of Mumbai’s tourist district, especially the stretch from the Gateway of India, through Colaba Causeway and on to Nariman Point and Marine Drive.


Nithin Belle

Published: Sun 17 Jun 2012, 1:26 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

The carriage owners and drivers haggle with tourists at the Gateway, offering to take them on rides in their garishly lit-up carriages. And many tourists, along with their kids, take sight-seeing tours of Colaba, or go on longer rides.

But the numerous instances of accidents involving the horse carriages and the miserable treatment meted out to the animals has resulted in a growing demand for a ban on the victorias that take over many south Mumbai streets at night.

On Saturday, animal rights activists staged a protest rally at Azad Maidan, demanding a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Many of them sported horse masks and carried banners demanding a ban. According to Mili Gandhi, a spokesperson for Mumbai for Horses, the citizen’s campaign has the support of over 4,500 people, and is mentored and guided by Maneka Gandhi, ‘the first lady of animal welfare in India.’

Several Bollywood actors have also lent a helping hand to the campaign, either joining in the protests or tweeting their support. “The sight of horse drawn carriages nowadays is a source of sadness,” remarks Priyanka Chopra. “The plight of the poor horses is tough to bear. The horses aren’t taken care of properly and are being made to work under unimaginable conditions. ”

According to Kangana Ranaut, horses are the most majestic creatures on Earth. “It’s very sad to see them pulling carts and doing jobs on hard roads not meant for them. Despite this, they’re kept in the worst conditions, get little or nothing to eat and even their wounds are not tended to properly, resulting in a painful life and an even more painful death. This needs to end.”

Dr Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs, PETA India, says horses should not be forced to breathe car and truck fumes all day or be driven to the point of collapse.

“The only way to ensure that these gentle animals don’t suffer and that the safety of residents and tourists isn’t placed at risk is to ban horse-drawn carriages.”

Horses are forced to haul passengers in extreme weather and are frequently denied adequate rest, food and water. They often collapse from exhaustion and are whipped in an effort to get them to stand.

According to Valliyate, most never see a veterinarian in their lifetime, and regulations pertaining to animals forced to work are rarely enforced.

They are also forced to live in filthy, damp stables and are often left to stand without any shade, violating civic laws. A PETA India spokesperson says that a growing number of cities worldwide — including Delhi, Toronto, London, Oxford, Paris and Beijing — have banned horse-drawn carriages.

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