The Mumbai High Court has ordered the complete ban of horse-drawn carriages, known as ‘Victorias’, after one year.

“We hold that the use of horse-driven carriages/Victorias in Mumbai for joyrides is completely illegal. The activity of using horse-driven carriages only for joyrides solely for human pleasure is an avoidable activity. Horse-driven carriages only for joyrides is violative of Section 3 and 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” the 55-page order stated.

Animal rights organizations have been working to ban carriages in Mumbai for years and have presented investigations highlighting the cruelty of the industry many times before.

Investigations by PETA show some horses are fitted with spiked bits which cause their mouth to bleed, they are constantly exhausted, overworked and whipped to make them walk until their last breath, most were found with drooping heads which a sign of severe depression, and all had to endure long hours of hard work without any food or water and were denied medical care.

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Images by PETA

The court also ruled that all horse stables in the city should be closed down. “There is material on record in the form of opinion expressed by a large number of experts after visiting the stables that the same are in unhygienic conditions and the same lack the basic facilities for animal housing,” the court said.

A rehabilitation scheme for the animals was ordered to be put in place by 31st December. “If any animal welfare organisation comes forward to take care of the horses, the state government shall be free to consider the said option,” the court said.

It is estimated that 700 families will be affected by this new law.

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