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Horses continue to be mal-treated in Kolkata, report finds

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New Delhi/Kolkata, March 28 (IANS) Cruel practices such as forcing emaciated and injured horses to work and injuries to horses caused by being hit by cars and other vehicles, often leading to slow, painful deaths, are part of a new report about the horse-drawn carriage industry in Kolkata.

For 20-odd horses, after a since similar assessment done last year, there has been no change in the practices, which include horses with a fracture or multiple fractures; a horse that collapsed on the road; horses with open festering wounds; a partially blind horse, and a horse that died from suspected rabies — the report by PETA India describing the dire conditions of horses as assessed between November 2021 and March 2022 said.

Most of the horses were found to be severely emaciated and chronically malnourished, indicating that the majority of Kolkata’s horses have been starving for a long time and are routinely denied basic nutrition, the report said, as it pointed out that the horses are also denied proper farriery (services for hoofs) and other veterinary services.

Using injured and malnourished horses for carriage rides violates The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

“The animals’ faeces strewn around the city also creates a tetanus risk and other health hazards for humans,” the report submitted to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Home Department, the Animal Resource Development Department as well as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Commissioner of Police, said.

“There is no joy for horses in the City of Joy,” said PETA India Advocacy Officer, Samit Roy.

PETA India is calling on the authorities to replace horses with eco-friendly electric carriages to spare them suffering from fractures and festering wounds caused by traffic accidents and other cruelty, he added.

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