After receiving a letter from PETA India pointing out the rampant use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits – a device with metal spikes sticking out of it – to control horses throughout Himachal Pradesh, even though they’re explicitly banned under Rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, the director of the state’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, acting on the direction of the additional chief secretary, issued an order to all district deputy directors to implement all provisions of this law and submit a report of the actions taken.
In its letter, PETA India pointed out that the population of horses and ponies in Himachal Pradesh is around 0.25 lakhs, as recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019 conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. When spiked bits are used to control horses exploited for weddings and rides, they can sink more than a centimetre deep into their mouths, ripping their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense mental trauma, and lifelong damage.
These illegal torture devices lacerate horses’ mouths and leave them with tremendous pain, and the weapons don’t belong at joyous occasions like weddings or anywhere else. We’re grateful that the Himachal Pradesh government is calling for a crackdown on the use of these harmful spiked bits, and PETA India is ready to lend a hand to help enforce the law, if needed.
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 the first week of December 2019 aimed at helping police enforce the ban. Following outreach from PETA India, several states – including Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, 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.