A division bench of the Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal government to inspect all horse-drawn hackney carriages in Kolkata and immediately seize unlicensed ones. Concerned about the poor conditions of many horses drawing carriages, the court also instructed the state Animal Husband & Veterinary Services Department to conduct additional health check-ups for ailing horses.
The court expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to enforce existing licensing and animal welfare laws, stating that authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the issue. The state government must explain the delay in implementing its undertaking from June 2022 to provide proper medical treatment to lame, sick, weak, and pregnant horses.
PETA India, welcoming the order, offered to rehabilitate seized horses with expert equine veterinary care. The court’s recognition of the poor state of horses in the city marks a significant development.