Former Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman Wednesday called for a total ban on horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai, which she contended as "cruel and dangerous."
In a letter to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, Zeenat said that the lives of both horses and humans are at risk owing to numerous antiquated horse-drawn carriages operating in the midst of heavy traffic in the city.
"Numerous injuries and deaths have resulted in 2010, a three-year-old child was thrown off a carriage when the horse was startled by a passing car. The child later died," Zeenat said, writing on behalf of People for Ethical Treatment of Animalsn (PETA).
She pointed out that recently while a vigil was being held for one horse which had died, another horse forced to haul a carriage had collapsed - "How many more horses and people have to become injured or die before horse carriages are banned in Mumbai?" asked Zeenat.
Incidentally, a public interest petition on the issue, filed by Animals & Birds Charitable Trust, with intervention by PETA, was admitted by the Bombay High Court, the hearing of which is scheduled Thursday (July 26).
Zeenat has now joined a list of celebrities campaigning for the ban, including Hema Malini, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Jesse Randhawa, Sandeep Soparrkar among others.
According to the actress, the horses pull carriages and are forced to haul passengers in the sweltering heat and extreme cold. They are denied adequate rest, food and water.
They are often kept in filthy, damp stables infested with biting insects and most horses never see a veterinarian in their lifetimes, added Zeenat.