Goa Government to Crack Down on Use of Spiked Weapons on Horses and Other Animals

For Immediate Release: 

7 September 2020


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Monica Chopra; [email protected]

Following Complaint by PETA India, State Animal Husbandry Department Issues Orders

Panaji – After receiving appeals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India pointing out the rampant use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits – devices with metal spikes sticking out of them – to control horses throughout Goa, even though they are explicitly banned under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, Dr Santosh Desai, director of Goa’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, 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 are not used to control any animal, in violation of the Rules, and further directed that such devices be confiscated and that incidents be reported to the concerned authorities for further action.

PETA India’s investigative video about the cruelty of using spiked bits and photographs are available for download upon request.

In its letters, PETA India pointed out the illegality and inhumanity of using spiked (or thorn) 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 mouths, ripping their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense psychological 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,” says PETA India Senior Legal Counsel Swati Sumbly. ”We are grateful that the Goa government is calling for a crackdown on the use of these harmful spiked bits, and PETA India stands 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 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.

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