For Immediate Release:
31 January 2013
PETA-Supported Group Works With Maharashtra Sugar Factories to Adopt Modern, Humane Transportation
Mumbai – Six sugar factories in Maharashtra’s Solapur District were recently convinced by Animal Rahat, an organisation supported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and dedicated to relieving the suffering of working bullocks, to replace a total of 190 bullock carts with modern mini-tractors as part of Animal Rahat’s new Tractor Project. With two bullocks per cart, 380 bullocks will no longer have to suffer under the strain of pulling the often-overloaded carts. Lokmangal – one of the most prominent sugar factories in the district – signed an agreement with Animal Rahat stating that within three years, it will be 100 per cent divested of all bullock carts. Because tractors enable faster harvesting and transport – which lead to a fresher product that fetches a better price –companies that have made the switch are seeing markedly increased profits.
“This is a wonderful victory for bullocks, and we look forward to the day when no animal will be forced to haul heavy loads since tractors can do it more humanely, dependably and economically”, says Animal Rahat Programme Manager Dr Naresh Upreti. “The sugar factories that are cooperating with our Tractor Project are setting an example for all of India to follow.”
An average sugarcane factory uses approximately 1,200 bullocks every day during the sugarcane season, which runs from September to May. The bullocks struggle to pull heavy loads of more than 3 tons of sugarcane for up to 18 kilometres, an excessive weight that causes abscesses, swollen knees, yoke gall and muscle ailments. They are often violently handled and given insufficient food, water, rest and shade. Bullock owners who switch to using mini-tractors will be able to retire their animals to a life free from suffering and will avert the risk of losing their livelihood from the animals’ illness or injury.