Haryana Government to Crack Down on Illegal Use of Spiked Bits on Horses  

For Immediate Release:  

1 July 2020 


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]    

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

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

Haryana – 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 Haryana, even though these bits are explicitly banned under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, and as per the 31 March 2019 judgment of the High Court of Punjab and HaryanaShri Sunil K Gulati, additional chief secretary of the Government of Haryana Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairyingissued an order to department officials calling on them to ensure the implementation of the laws and the directions of the court. The order also directs that spiked bits be replaced with smooth ones, any injuries to the animals be treated, and legal action be taken if an owner refuses to use a smooth bit. The order further directs that the director general of the animal husbandry department provide grants for the purpose of buying smooth bits, which can be given free of charge to animal owners.  

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

In a letter, PETA India pointed out that the population of horses and ponies in Haryana is around 0.10 lakhs, as recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019, conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying. When spiked bits are used to control horses used for weddings and rides and to force them to haul goods, the devices 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.  

PETA India’s letter also pointed out that the 31 March 2019 judgment states that “the use of spike stick or bit, harness or yoke with spikes, knobs or projections or any other sharp tackle or equipment is banned throughout the State of Haryana to avoid bruises, swelling, abrasions or severe pain to the animal.” 

“These illegal torture devices lacerate horses’ mouths and leave them with tremendous pain, and they don’t belong at joyous occasions like weddings or anywhere else,” says PETA India Senior Legal Counsel Swati Sumbly. ”We are grateful that the Haryana 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.”   

Several states and union territories – including  Assam, Bihar, DelhiHimachal PradeshKarnatakaMaharashtra, 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 in order to close an existing loophole.   

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.