Take steps to stop use of thorn bits for harnessing horses: PETA India to Environment Ministry

New Delhi: Animal rights body PETA India has asked the Union Environment Ministry to take steps to stop the rampant use of spiked or ‘thorn’ bits for harnessing horses, despite being prohibited under the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules. These devices have thorns or spikes protruding from the part of the bit that goes inside the mouth of a horse to control the animal.

Acting upon complaints, veterinarians of PETA India recently carried out an inspection of horses used for rides and for weddings and found that use of thorn bits were widespread. The thorn bits were found embedded half-an-inch deep in the mouth of horses, ripping their lips and tongues, and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds and lifelong damage.

“PETA India is asking the Environment Ministry to take decisive action to stop the rampant illegal use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits, which are being used to control horses despite being prohibited under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965,” the animal rights body said in a statement.

PETA India, in its letter to the ministry, asked it to enforce the law against the use of these torture devices and amend Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, to include ban on the manufacture and sale of them as well.

According to the statement, the animal rights body also wrote to e-commerce giant Amazon.in asking it stop displaying these devices for sale in its website. In PETA India’s new video, the group also asked brides and grooms-to-be to pledge to ride a vehicle that doesn’t use animals.

PETA India CEO and equine expert Dr Manilal Valliyate said, “Veterinarians like me – as well as most brides and grooms – are often shocked to learn that many horses are cruelly controlled with the use of spiked bits. In this day and age, there is simply no excuse to force a horse with a bloody mouth to be included in wedding festivities, and the government can help prevent that.

PETA India noted that numerous wedding parties are now opting for horse-free transportation options. In 2014, the Animal Welfare Board of India issued an advisory requesting that states and Union Territories to impose a ban on the manufacture, trade, possession and use of spiked bits.

“No action was taken by the states and Union Territories, but the clamour for a clampdown is growing and these recent inspections show why,” the body said.

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