While horse-drawn carriages are usually a hit with the youth, a group of school kids have written to the BMC, thanking the civic body after it has assured to help them in the cause of relieving Mumbai’s roads of its familiar carriages. The children believe that the city should be made tonga-free even as activists are fighting for the same, in the light of the spate of accidents involving the city’s Victorias, most recently being the death of a horse last Sunday.
Nearly a month ago, a few animal activists came together after several incidents regarding horses came to light, and asked the BMC to support them in their cause. The deputy mayor, Mohan Mithbhawkar consented and wrote a letter to the BMC asking them to do the needful. According to sources and Mithbhawkar himself, most of the tongas in the city are illegal and the animals are kept in poor conditions. “The animal activists approached us, and we realised that since 1974, the BMC had stopped issuing new licenses, and earlier ones have mostly expired, making them illegal now. Except for a few places in Mumbai, most stables do not keep the horses in good health,” he said.
However, animal activists under the banner ‘Mumbai For Horses’ who have a dedicated Facebook page have decided that the horses should be freed. While the movement has the support of the BMC, the ‘child ambassadors’ of the activist group have written to the BMC to show their support to the cause as well.
“The Mumbai for Horses children want the Municipal Commissioner to know that today’s children care about animals and know that horses feel pain and happiness just like human beings do. Our child ambassadors don’t view horses as means of entertainment and want to thank the BMC for its support,” said Rachael Koyama, child outreach, Mumbai for Horses.
A few of the kids have even taken the initiative at their schools to encourage fellow classmates who love animals to do the same.
One of the letters written by Aadya Rao, to the BMC reads, “The horses have suffered enough. Now they will live freely and happily. Ban carriages.”
Similarly, Aryaman Pallve wrote, “Thank you very much for helping the poor horses. We really appreciate what you have done.”
Another letter by Jai Mendonsa reads, “On July 3, I happened to see a horse carriage collapse. Sir, please it is my request to you that the horses should be helped out urgently. It was indeed a very sorrowful sight to see. It’s very sad that a horse, being an animal is unable to express his feelings.”