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Ban Cruelty To Buggy Ponies

Two Mumbai based organizations In Defence Of Animals (IDA INDIA); working for the welfare of animals and Bombay society for prevention of cruelty to animals (BSPCA) had jointly organized Ban Buggy Save Pony Protest at NCPA, Nariman point, Mumbai on 28th November at 6:30 PM. Nearly Seventy five protester dressed in black, participated with Banners and Placards. BSPCA confiscated two horses and three ponies, which were injured and sick, and not physically fit to run on the road. Other buggy drivers were charge-sheeted over loading, and running the buggies without official license. Cruelty concerned fliers were distributed to the public and IDA INDIA volunteers gave awareness talk. It was a great success and a solid move to protect these helpless animals from the exploitation.

The aim of doing this protest was to bring public awareness for the pathetic condition of ponies and horses. And demand ban buggy rides and which is cruel to animals, out dated and dangerous to public. The two organizations also demanded to have safe area for pony rides. This protest was given the protection by Marine Drive police station. Police extended all cooperation and support.

We believe that any person who provides the public for pony & Buggy rides, trail rides or any other rental arrangement should maintain such an operation with the welfare of the animals in their care as their ultimate concern. They should therefore:

  • Supply animals with adequate, wholesome and appropriate food as often as the feeding habits and energy of the animal requires;
  • Provide clean water at all times;
  • Provide and maintain clean and sanitary enclosures with adequate ventilation and drainage.
  • Enclosures should be kept free from debris;
  • Provide animals with proper and adequate shelter from the elements.
  • Animals must not be overcrowded, nor exposed to excessively hot, cold or wet conditions;
  • Use every reasonable precaution to insure that animals are not teased, abused, mistreated, harassed, improperly handled or made to suffer by any person or means; Take precautions to correct or avoid any condition that is, or could be, injurious to the animal;
  • Provide members of the public who choose to rent or otherwise ride rental animals with information on appropriate handling and care of the animals, as well as applicable safety information prior to rental;
  • Work only those animals which have received adequate rest, are strong, healthy, and in good condition. No animal with sores (specifically those under saddle area or in mouth), over-grown or poorly shod hooves, lameness or illness of any kind should be ridden;
  • Take all reasonable precautions to protect the public and the animals;
  • Provide working animals with proper and adequate rest;
  • Provide animals with regular and appropriate veterinary care and hoof care;
  • Equip animals with appropriate, properly fitted and clean tack (including saddle, saddle pad, girth, bridle, bit);
  • Adequately cool, dry and rest animals after they are ridden. When animals are resting, loosen or remove tack;
  • Groom animals adequately (including cleaning of hooves and brushing) before and after saddling/riding as to remove dirt, rocks and other materials that are known to cause saddle sores and/or sore hooves;
  • Appropriately match horse and rider by assessing such factors as riders' experience level, age and weight;
  • Horses should be retired from work and placed in a humane and natural retirement environment when it is appropriate and humane for each individual animal.
  • Stop inhumane whipping. Seek to educate the public about the problems associated with pony & buggy rides.

Basanti is an old mare, blind in both eyes. Adorned with anklets and garlands her owner brings her to a busy market place every evening, to draw a buggy cart. With 6 to 7 adults and innumerable children loaded into the cart, the owner wants the cart to run at break neck speed to give them a 'joy ride'. But their joy of 5 minutes is a night mare for Basanti, who gets at least 15 lashes on her bruised aching back, as she runs as fast as her old legs can carry her. Badal is a young pony, but has lost his youth before time. He has sores all over his body due to poorly designed saddle, and with each ride the saddle cuts into his flesh and rubs his sores and makes them bleed. With no medical aid, the sores soon turn infectious and painful, but the rides continue. But who cares for the agony of these mute creatures that silently suffer at the hands of their greedy owners?

On a Sunday evening, Basanti gives at least 30 rides, with each rider paying Rs. 15/- and each cart carrying 10 passengers; the owner earns at least Rs. 4,000 in a single evening. But does he spend some of this money to look after Basanti? Never!! He feeds her just enough to prevent her from a total collapse. The picture below shows Basanti after she finally collapsed on the road.

This is not the story of Basanti and Badal alone. Hundreds of ponies go through this torture day in and day out. Should we remain as silent spectators to this cruelty, or may be look away because we can't bear to see their condition and cannot do anything to change this situation.

Our motto: "The ponies can't protest but we certainly can. So say 'yes' to rides only healthy, happy ponies and an emphatic 'no' to rides on weak, emaciated and unhealthy ponies."

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