If you own and use a horse for commercial purposes,what do you do when it is old or injured and unable to work? Simple. Abandon it at the Maidan. Such is the practice prevalent among horse and carriage owners.
What is the use of keeping horses if they cant help you generate revenue? We are poor people who use the horses to earn a livelihood. We cannot afford the luxury of keeping an extra mouth to feed, said the owner of a horse-drawn carriage in Metiaburz.
Asked why he couldnt give the horse over to the authorities,he said,First,I dont know if there is any such authority. Second,it would involve a lot of paperwork and complications. Besides,they might ask for a lot of money from me.
Organisations and individuals have decided to act against this practice. After Delhi and Mumbai,People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is all set to protest against horse-drawn carriages in the City of Joy.
The practice is nothing new,but needs to be stopped. On one hand,the carriages are often overloaded and run for long hours during the day. On the other hand,when the horses are not in a position to pull the carriages,they are abandoned. We will write to different government authorities to put a stop to this practice, said Bhuvaneshwari Gupta,project coordinator,PETA.
MLA and animal lover Debasree Roy said she had plans for a bigger movement against this cruelty towards horses. We will organise an awareness drives among other programmes. But we will also have to keep in mind that there should be a planned way of phasing out these horses and carriages so that while the animals are relieved,the people who earn from these carriages are not deprived of their means of livelihood, she said.
Vaishali Dalmiya,animal lover and daughter of CAB boss Jagmohan Dalmiya,who had given refuge to three such horses at her place,had similar views. Two of the horses died of old age and one remains. It is a fact that these horses are underfed and finally abandoned. Individuals and associations should come forward to help these poor creatures and,at the same time,no one should lose their livelihood, she said.