Following PETA India Complaint, Chhattisgarh Orders Testing of all Horses for Disease

For Immediate Release:

27 August 2019

Contact:

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Garima Jain; [email protected]

Four Horses Recently Tested Positive for Glanders, a Disease Fatal to Humans

Raipur – In response to an urgent letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India regarding a report that the deadly zoonotic disease glanders was detected in horses in the state, the animal husbandry department of Chhattisgarh issued a circular notifying the municipal corporation areas of Durg and Rajnandgaon as “controlled areas” and imposing restrictions on the movement of equines in and out of them. One horse tested positive for glanders in Durg, and three horses tested positive in Rajnandgaon. The circular further directs that all affected equines be euthanised and that 100% of equines in the controlled area and 25% of equines within 25 kilometres of the controlled area be screened. As per the circular, outside the 25-kilometre radius, in all 27 districts of the state, the district animal husbandry department must undertake a physical or sero-surveillance programme for equines. It further states that the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, must be enforced.

In its letter, PETA India urged the state government to ban the use of horses for weddings and other ceremonies, citing the potential and possibly fatal threat to humans who come into contact with infected horses.

A copy of the Chhattisgarh government’s order is available upon request.

“Horses forced to pull overloaded carts and paraded during weddings commonly face being controlled through the use of weapons and by spiked bits fitted into their mouths. They endure thirst, malnourishment, untreated injuries, and other pain, and now their use is exposing Chhattisgarh’s citizens to the risk of dangerous zoonotic diseases like glanders,” says Dr Manilal Valliyate, veterinarian and CEO of PETA India. “If horses continue to be used for weddings, glanders may soon be considered a honeymoon disease. We congratulate the Chhattisgarh government for initiating action on testing horses and urge the compassionate people of Chhattisgarh never to use horses at their weddings or those of their family members.”

Glanders is a contagious, fatal disease in horses, mules, and donkeys caused by Burkholderia mallei bacteria and characterised by the serial development of ulcerating nodules commonly found in the upper respiratory tract, in the lungs, and on the skin. Humans may become infected with the disease through contact with infected animals or inhalation, and it can affect the skin, the lungs, and the entire body and, in the absence of proper treatment, lead to a painful death.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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