After receiving appeals from PETA India pointing out the rampant use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits, Vinod Singh Gunjiyal, the director of Bihar’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, issued an order to all district animal husbandry officers and the secretaries of the district Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It calls on them to ensure that these devices aren’t sold or used to control equines – that is, horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. The devices, which have metal spikes, are commonly used to control horses throughout Bihar, even though their use is explicitly banned under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. The order also refers to the provision under the Rules which prohibits the use of harnesses or yokes with spikes, knobs, or projections or any sharp tackle or equipment in order to ride any animal or make any animal pull a vehicle.
In our letters, we pointed out the illegality and inhumanity of using spiked bits on equines. When these devices are used to control horses for weddings or rides or to force them to haul goods, they can sink deep into their mouths, ripping their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense psychological trauma, and lifelong damage.
Numerous states – including Assam, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh – have issued orders mandating the enforcement of Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. PETA India is campaigning not only for police to search for and confiscate the illegally sold and used devices but also for laws to be introduced to include a ban on the manufacture and sale of spiked bits, a loophole that needs to be closed.
We’re grateful that the Bihar government is calling for a crackdown on the use of harmful spiked bits. PETA India stands ready to lend a hand to help enforce the law if needed.
These illegal torture devices lacerate horses’ mouths and leave the animals in tremendous pain. They don’t belong at joyous occasions such as weddings or anywhere else.