“What About Our Income?” Ask Horse Owners as BMC Stops Joyrides

“What About Our Income?” Ask Horse Owners as BMC Stops Joyrides

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The death of a six-year-old after falling off a horse during a joyride, has once again put the spotlight on joyrides in Mumbai. When Jhanvi Sharma succumbed to head injuries after the horse she was riding slipped and fell, the horse owner was arrested for culpable homicide. The Bombay High Court has now banned horse joyrides across the city leaving horse owners worried about their livelihood.

We used to get about Rs 200 on weekdays and about Rs 1000-1500 on Sundays. But that has completely stopped now. We are under a lot of debt to feed ourselves and our horses. I have borrowed about Rs 10,000 already to feed my horse and my family.
Rudal Jaiswal, horse owner
Dilip Jaiswal grooms his horse in his stable.
Dilip Jaiswal grooms his horse in his stable.
(Photo: The Quint)

While the BMC is now planning to seize the horses used for joyrides, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has offered to rehabilitate the horses.

They are made to work for extremely long hours without getting adequate rest, food and even basic veterinary case. That’s why you’ll find most of them severely malnourished and dehydrated. That’s what causes these kinds of accidents.
Sachin Bangera, Associate director of celebrity PR, PETA

In an effort to rehabilitate Mumbai’s Victoria carriage owners, the Maharashtra government had passed a resolution to offer them a hawking license and compensation worth Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakhs. Joyride owners however, are not covered in this plan. The BMC has now said that the license for owners of joyride horses expired in 2015 and has not been renewed since.

While a few of the horse owners we spoke to were aware that their license had expired in 2015, many however claim that the BMC pointed this out to them only after the ban. With their very livelihoods now at stake, joyride horse owners will now be applying for a fresh licence to operate at their usual haunts in the city. But the question persists, if the ban isn’t revoked, how will they earn their livelihood?

If they take away our horses, they should give us an alternative source of income. How else do we eat? Where will we take our kids now?
Dilip Kumar Jaiswal, horse owner

With the ban already in place, animal rights activists believe the government’s rehabilitation plan must be implemented as soon as possible.

It is already banned and considered illegal so the rehabilitation plan that has been suggested by the state government must be implemented immediately so that the animals can go out of the city and these horse owners can start working.
Sachin Bangera, Associate director of celebrity PR, PETA

As of now, the horse owners stare at an uncertain future as they await the BMC’s next move.

Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb
Video Editor: Veeru Mohan

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