Karnataka High Court issues notice to Bangalore Turf Club on PIL


‘80% of stables over 50 years old; temporary steps won’t be fruitful in the long run’

The Karnataka High Court has directed the Bangalore Turf Club Ltd. and the Animal Welfare Board of India to respond to the recommendations made in an inspection report for setting up a state-of-the-art horse stable at BTC, and for laying down guidelines on the number of horses to be kept in a turf club.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition filed by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, an NGO.

The Bench passed the order as the inspector Capt. Ravi Raidurg, in his report of the inspection of BTC, had recommended construction of state-of-the-art stables on a war footing in BTC, though he had termed as “satisfactory” the maintenance of track.

“About 80% of the stables are over 50 years old, and temporary measures like puff panelling won’t be fruitful in the long run,” the report said, while recommending construction of the state-of-the-art stables.

Though the petitioner had alleged that BTC had violated certain provisions of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, in not providing proper veterinary care, suitable stables, track etc., the inspection report found that treatment done by the then chief veterinary officer was “satisfactory”. However, the report recommended setting up of a state-of-the-art operation theatre, regular training for the vets, and filling vacant posts of CVO and junior veterinarians.

The report said that no evidence was found on the allegation made by the petitioner about withholding of food and water for horses seven hours prior to the race.

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While pointing out that BTC at present is overcrowded as there were 887 horses as on November 28, 2020, and 600 to 650 syces, the report said infrastructure at BTC is not capable of holding such a large number of animals and syces.

As there is no guideline on the number of horses to be kept in a particular turf club, the report recommended that the AWBI and the Ministry of Animal Husbandry issue guidelines on the number of horses to be kept in a particular turf race club based on infrastructure available.

The report also recommended the need to issue standard operating procedure for rehabilitation of horses after their racing age. Further hearing has been adjourned till January 29.

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Sagar Biswas

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