Himachal Pradesh Police and PETA India Conduct Enforcement Drive on Illegal Use of Spiked Bits on Horses

For Immediate Release:

19 February 2020


Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Hiraj Laljani ; [email protected]

Union of Horse Owners Pledges Never to Use Such Cruel Devices

Shimla – Yesterday, Himachal Pradesh police, with the help of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, conducted a joint awareness and law-enforcement drive in Kufri against the illegal use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits, which are commonly fitted into the mouths of horses used to transport goods and for joyrides. The team interacted with more than 100 horse owners, explaining that spiked bits cause animals extreme pain and immense psychological trauma and that their use is banned under Rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. The team also replaced the spiked bits and other old, worn-down bits with smooth ones.

At the end of the drive, the leader of the Union of Horse Owners signed an undertaking on behalf of approximately 1,000 horse owners condemning the use of spiked bits and pledging never to use such cruel devices. The agreement also states that union members will adhere to all aspects of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965.

Photos of the awareness and law-enforcement drive are available upon request.

“Most tourists are shocked to learn that spiked bits are used to control horses. These torture devices often rip through animals’ lips and tongues, leaving them with painful, bloody wounds and lifelong damage,” says PETA India Advocacy Associate Pradeep Ranjan Doley Barman. “There’s no excuse for tormenting horses for joyrides, and PETA will continue raising awareness and helping police across India crack down on the illegal use of these cruel devices.”

The action comes after PETA India pointed out to the government of Himachal Pradesh that spiked bits are explicitly banned under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and that the population of horses and ponies in the state is around 0.25 lakhs, as recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019. The director of the state 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.

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 recently launched a nationwide campaign aimed at helping police enforce the ban. Following outreach from PETA India, several other states and union territories – including Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh – also 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 legislation to be introduced to close a loophole that still allows their manufacture and sale.

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.