Mahrashtra Sugar Commissioner Issues Order to Stop Abuse of Bullocks

For Immediate Release:
7 December 2012

Benazir Suraiya +91 9004547382; [email protected]
Dr Manilal Valliyate +91 9820947382; [email protected]

PETA Request Prompts Action That Will Help More Than 837,000 Animals Forced to Work in State

Mumbai – Maharashtra’s commissioner of sugar, Vijay Singhal, has just issued a directive that sugarcane mills throughout the state must adhere to 12 specific rules in their treatment of bullocks that include weight limits, adequate water and rest, limits on the number of hours an animal can be forced to work and other measures aimed at stopping the industry’s rampant abuse of bullocks. The order – which was proposed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India – will provide relief to more than 837,000 bullocks who are forced to carry backbreaking loads, often while being whipped or having sharp metal objects pushed into their necks. The following are among the 12 rules that the factories must adhere to and enforce:

• No person shall cause any animal to draw a cart if it carries a load in excess of weights specified by law.
• No person shall use any animal for carrying any load for more than nine hours in a day, for more than five hours continuously without a rest break and when temperatures exceeds 37 degrees celcius between 12 noon and 3 pm.
• The use of whips, spiked sticks, harnesses or yokes with spikes or any sharp tackle or equipment is forbidden.
• Bullocks must be provided with adequate water while waiting for unloading and while the animals are free from work.

“We have witnessed animals suffering from exhaustion, laboured breathing and frothing at the mouth – and not given a drop of water or a moment’s rest,” says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Thanks to Mr Singhal’s order, some relief for these poor animals is finally in sight.”

PETA – which will offer the factories technical assistance in implementing the rules – will write to the police and other agencies, asking them to strictly enforce the order and also to the sugarcane factories, asking them to phase out the use of bullocks and replace them with modern tractors.

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