Himachal Pradesh Government to Crack Down on Illegal Use of Spiked Bits on Horses

For Immediate Release 

January 2020 


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Nikunj Sharma; [email protected] 

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

Shimla – After receiving a letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India pointing out the rampant use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits  a device with metal spikes sticking out of it  to control horses throughout Himachal Pradesh, despite being explicitly banned under Rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, the Director of the states Animal Husbandry Department, acting on the direction of the Additional Chief Secretary, issued an order to all district deputy directors calling on them to implement all provisions of this law and to submit a report of the actions taken 

In its letter, PETA India pointed out that the population of horses and ponies in Himachal Pradesh is around 0.25 lakhsas recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019 conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. When spiked bits are used to control horses used for weddings and rides, they can sink more than a centimetre deep into their mouths, ripping their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense mental trauma, and lifelong damage. 

These illegal torture devices lacerate horses mouths and leave them with tremendous pain, and the weapons dont belong at joyous occasions like weddings or anywhere else, says PETA India Senior Legal Counsel Swati SumblyWe are grateful that the Himachal Pradesh 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. 

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 the first week of December aimed at helping police enforce the ban. Following outreach from PETA India, several states – including Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Telanganaand 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. 

A PETA India investigative video about the cruelty of using spiked bits is available upon request.

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.