Rajasthan High Court Bans Tonga Races Following Report by Animal Welfare Board

For Immediate Release:
9 March 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari; [email protected]

Upon PETA’s Request, AWBI Writes to the Rajasthan Government to Ensure Effective Implementation of Court’s Order

Jaipur – The Rajasthan High Court banned tonga races in the state of Rajasthan following a study report submitted by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) – a statutory body constituted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and overseen by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change – on the tonga races organised during the occasion of the annual Ganeshji Ka Mela and Veer Tejaji Ka Mela in Nagaur district. The court further directed the state of Rajasthan to take appropriate steps to ensure that the persons in charge take reasonable measures to protect the well-being of animals and to adhere to the PCA Act. Now, following a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), AWBI has written to the Rajasthan government urging it to ensure strict compliance with the court order.

AWBI’s study report noted that cruelty to horses is inherent when they are forced to run on hard concrete or tarred road, amidst the chaos of heavy traffic and with spectators shouting on the roadside – all of which the horses would find frightening and distressing. It also pointed out that the horses used for races in Nagaur district already suffer from faulty conformation and pathological abnormalities of the foot as a result of poor foot care and farriery practices – and that events such as horse races only aggravate these existing conditions and cause the horses to suffer. The study report further stated that the horses used for races are commonly forced to stand amidst their own waste in filthy and decrepit stables, denied adequate water and necessary veterinary treatment, and injured, sick or severely malnourished.

“The High Court’s decision is an important victory, both for the horses – who will no longer be forced to run on hard tarred road, which commonly results in injuries and lameness – and for the spectators, who are often injured or killed at such events”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “There is absolutely no room in contemporary society for races that involve tormenting already overworked horses by pushing them to race, hitting them with whips and torturing them by vigorous pulling of the spiked bits in their mouths.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – was part of the expert team authorised by AWBI to conduct the study and submit the report.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.