‘Horse owners in Kolkata defy HC order, refuse to attend veterinary health camp’

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Friday alleged that horse and carriage owners in Kolkata have defied a Calcutta High Court order that made it mandatory for them to participate in a three-day veterinary health camp from April 19-21.

The camp was organised by the West Bengal Animal Resources Development in association with PETA-India and CAPE Foundation.

According to a statement issued by PETA-India, this non-participation was deliberate fearing that a detailed expert veterinary examination would again expose the deplorable conditions of the animals.

On April 5, the Calcutta High Court had ordered that all horses in Kolkata be provided with essential veterinary services in response to a petition filed by PETA India and CAPE Foundation seeking the prohibition of the cruel and illegal use of horses for rides and to haul tourist carriages near Victoria Memorial.

“The court had considered two assessment reports submitted by the petitioners, which provided evidence of the suffering endured by the horses, such as severe injuries, malnourishment, and foot diseases. By not participating in the veterinary health camp, the horse owners continue to deny the horses even the most basic and essential care,” the statement read.

As per PETA-India’s advisory officer, they have already urged for a ban on use of horse- driven carriages in Kolkata as had been done in Delhi and Mumbai, and instead the carriage- owners are provided with alternative carriages like e-rickshaws.

He also pointed out that as per The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, it is the duty of the owner of any animal to take measures to ensure the well-being of the animal and it is a punishable offence to deny the animal veterinary care. Using injured and malnourished horses for carriage rides also violates the PCA Act, 1960.

In an earlier order on January 22, 2013, the Calcutta High Court directed that measures be taken by the owners of each hackney carriage for removing dung excreted by the horses.

However, this direction was never implemented by the horse owners, PETA-India has claimed.

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