PETA India sent an appeal to Dr Santosh Desai, director of Goa’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, pointing out the rampant use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits to control horses throughout his state. These devices with metal spikes sticking out of them are explicitly banned under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. In response, he issued an order to all assistant directors and veterinary officers, calling on them to ensure that spiked bits; harnesses or yokes with spikes, knobs, or projections; or any sharp tackle or equipment aren’t used to control any animal, in violation of the rules. He also directed that such devices be confiscated and that incidents be reported to the concerned authorities for further action.
In our letter, 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 more than a centimetre deep into their mouth, ripping their lips and tongue and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense psychological trauma, and lifelong damage.
Based on the results of a multi-state survey of government efforts to enforce India’s ban on using spiked bits on horses, PETA India launched a nationwide campaign in December 2019 aimed at helping police enforce the ban.
Numerous states – including Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh – have issued orders mandating the enforcement of this prohibition. PETA India is campaigning not only for police to search for and confiscate the illegally 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.
These illegal torture devices lacerate horses’ mouths and leave them with tremendous pain. They don’t belong at joyous occasions such as weddings or anywhere else.
We’re grateful that the Goa government is calling for a crackdown on the use of harmful spiked bits, and if needed, we stand ready to lend a hand to help enforce the law.Help End the Use of Spiked Bits on Animals