A series of inspections – authorised by the Animal Welfare Board of India and conducted by veterinarians and other experts from prominent veterinary colleges and renowned non-governmental organisations, including PETA India – has revealed the widespread abuse and neglect of thousands of equines in India who are being used as living equipment to produce antitoxins and antivenins.
The following 10 facilities were inspected:
- Serum Institute of India
- VINS Bioproducts Limited
- Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd
- Premium Serums & Vaccines Pvt Ltd
- Biological E Limited
- Mediclone Biotech
- King Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research
- Bharat Serums and Vaccines Limited
- Raut Serum India Pvt Ltd
- Serawin Biologicals Pvt Ltd
All these institutions – with the exception of the Serum Institute of India, which outsources its work – extract blood from thousands of horses, mules, and/or donkeys to make antitoxins or antivenins.
The conditions the inspection team found were overwhelmingly dire. Many of the animals were suffering from anaemia as well as bleeding, infected, and untreated wounds, along with other serious health problems. Common physical problems included diseased hooves, malnourishment, infections, lesions, parasites, swollen limbs, lameness, an abnormal gait, and eye abnormalities, including corneal ulcers, cataracts, and blindness. Many animals were found with marks indicating they had endured painful and traumatic branding.
Most of the facilities were not even registered for conducting these procedures with the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals. Inspectors uncovered numerous apparent violations of other laws and guidelines. And although pregnant mares and foals were found at some of these facilities, they were not officially registered as breeders.Cruel Bleeding Procedures
A worker at Bharat Serums jabbed a large needle into a horse’s neck to extract blood, causing so much pain that the animal thrashed about and collapsed.Anaemic Equines Equines With Eye Abnormalities Equines With Wounds and Lesions Equines With Foot and Leg Problems
Lame Equines Severely Thin Equines Factory Farm–Like Conditions
Improper Animal Husbandry Techniques
Lack of Euthanasia for Suffering and Dying Animals
In response to the findings, PETA is calling on the government to shut down the equine-abusing facilities and encourage modern, animal-free ways of manufacturing antitoxins and antivenins.
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