On behalf of PETA India, iconic Bollywood actor Zeenat Aman has fired off a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) calling for a total ban on cruel and dangerous horse-drawn carriages within the city.
In her letter to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, Aman points out that the lives of both horses and humans are placed at risk by having antiquated horse-drawn carriages operate in the midst of heavy city traffic. Numerous injuries and deaths have resulted. In 2010, for instance, a 3-year-old child was thrown from a carriage when a horse was startled by a passing car. The child later died.
"Recently, while a vigil was being held in Mumbai for one beleaguered horse who had died, another horse forced to haul a carriage collapsed", writes Aman. "How many more horses and people have to become injured or die before horse carriages are banned in Mumbai?"
She further wrote, "In addition, horses and cars don't mix. Horses and people have both been injured and even killed in carriage accidents. In May 2010, a speeding vehicle passed a horse carriage, which caused the horse to jump, throwing the driver and a 3-year-old child. The child died as a result of the accident. In November of that same year, a horse pulling nine riders on a Victoria collapsed at Gateway of India."
"Mumbai has so much to offer, but the pathetic spectacle of horse abuse is the first thing that many tourists see, and it taints their impression of our great city."
Aman joins a growing number of celebrities - including Hema Malini, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, choreographer Sandip Soparrkar and his supermodel wife, Jesse Randhawa - who have asked the government to ban horse-drawn carriages.
Here's Zeenat Aman's letter to Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte: