Maharashtra Govt to Crack Down on Illegal Use of Spiked Bits on Horses

For Immediate Release:

27 April 2020


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

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

Pune – After receiving a letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India stating that there’s rampant use of spiked bits (devices with metal spikes sticking out of them) to control horses throughout Maharashtra – despite an explicit legal ban on their use, under Rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965 – the Commissioner of the state’s Animal Husbandry Department, Sachindra Pratap Singh, issued an order to all the District Collectors and heads of each district’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals calling on them to ensure that spiked bits are not used on horses made to work and that there is no violation of the rules. A copy of the order was also sent to all Regional Joint Commissioners, District Deputy Commissioners, and District Officers of the Animal Husbandry Department.

The Commissioner’s order also requested that the Principal Secretary of Animal Husbandry,  Dairy Development and Fisheries take up the matter regarding the ban on the production and sale of spiked bits with the Chief Secretary.

In its letter, PETA India points out that the population of horses and ponies in Maharashtra is around 0.37 lakhs, as recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019 conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

“These illegal torture devices lacerate horses’ mouths and leave them with tremendous pain. Such weapons don’t belong at joyous occasions like weddings or anywhere else,” says PETA India Senior Legal Counsel Swati Sumbly. “We’re grateful that the Maharashtra government is calling for a crackdown on the use of harmful spiked bits, and PETA India is ready to lend a hand to enforce the law, if needed.”

When used to control horses for weddings, rides, or other work, spiked bits sink more than a centimetre deep into the animals’ mouths, often ripping their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense mental trauma, and lifelong damage.

Based on the results of a multi-state survey of government efforts to enforce India’s ban on using spiked (or “thorn”) bits on horses, PETA India launched a nationwide campaign in the first week of December 2019 aimed at helping police enforce the ban. Following outreach from the group, several other states – including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, and Telangana – have issued orders mandating the enforcement of this prohibition. PETA India is campaigning not only for police to search for and confiscate the illegal 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 and photographs showing the cruelty of spiked bits are available for download upon request.

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