Seized! Lucknow Police and PETA India Display Seventy Illegal Spiked Bits Used to Control Horses

For Immediate Release:

24 June 2021


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Pradeep Ranjan Doley Barman; [email protected]

An Awareness Programme to Prevent Cruelty to Horses and to Enhance the Livelihood of Horse Owners Was Also Conducted

Lucknow – Yesterday, Lucknow police, with the help of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, conducted enforcement drives throughout the city against the illegal use of spiked (or “thorn”) bits, which are used to control horses used for work, weddings, and rides despite the weapons being prohibited under Rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. The team intervened in the cases of more than a hundred horses, replacing the spiked bits with plain ones. Today, PETA India and Lucknow police displayed the confiscated spiked bits at the Hazratganj police station as part of an awareness drive to let the public know their use is illegal. At the event, an awareness programme for tonga owners and drivers was also organised to encourage them to discontinue cruel practices and to help them understand the benefit of choosing livelihood alternatives such as e-rickshaws.

Photos from the event are available for download upon rerquest.

“Lucknow police’s stance on enforcing animal protection laws is strict and clear: firm action will be taken against anyone who abuses any animal or causes them unnecessary pain or suffering,” says Chiranjeev Nath Sinha, additional deputy commissioner of police, Central Lucknow. “I appreciate the work of PETA India for generating awareness in the city, for supporting the police with implementing the law, and replacing the spiked bits with plain ones”.

“Spiked bits rip horses’ lips and tongues, causing them extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense psychological trauma, and lifelong damage,” says PETA India CEO and equine expert Dr Manilal Valliyate. “In this day and age, replacing tongas with e-rickshaws is an easy way to prevent exhausted, injured, and malnourished animals from being forced to haul heavy loads – and to enhance the owners’ livelihood. Lucknow’s increasing pollution and street congestion necessitate a move towards a safer, animal cart–free future.”

As per Section 38 (3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, any person who contravenes the 1965 Rules by using a spiked bit shall be subject to punishment, which could include imprisonment. In 2014, the Animal Welfare Board of India issued an advisory requesting that states and union territories impose a ban on the manufacture, trade, possession, and use of spiked bits. Similar law-enforcement drives were conducted by Delhi police in 2018 and 2019 and by Himachal Pradesh police in 2020 following complaints by PETA India. PETA India has requested that the central government implement a law to ban the manufacture, possession, and sale of spiked bits, too.

In 2018, PETA India launched a project to replace the use of bullock and horse carts with battery-operated e-rickshaws in Delhi. The families benefitting from the project report that using an e-rickshaw has dramatically increased their earnings and enhanced their social and economic status. The vehicles allow the former horse and bullock cart owners to avoid the disruption of livelihood caused by infectious zoonotic diseases and the downtime that occurs when animals simply can’t work – such as when the horses are too injured or road restrictions apply to animal carts.

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