Assam bans use of spiked bits on horses

    Guwahati, Jun 30 (PTI) The Assam government has
prohibited use of spiked bits on horses and directed
veterinary officers to enforce the ban under provisions of the
Prevention of Cruelty to Drought and Pack Animal Rules, 1965,
an official said.
Spiked bits are devices that are often fitted into the
mouths of horses to control them through pain. The crude bits
have metal spikes sticking out of them and are also referred
to as "thorn bits".
     Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department secretary
Devajyoti Hazarika recently issued an order to the district
veterinary officers calling on them to ensure that spiked
bits, harnesses or yokes with spikes, knobs or projections, or
any sharp equipment are not used to control any animal.
    A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
India release on Tuesday said the government swung into action
following appeals from the animal rights organisation which
pointed out that metal spikes were being rampantly used to
control horses throughout Assam despite being banned under
Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Drought and Pack
Animals Rules, 1965.
     PETA India pointed out that the population of horses
and ponies in Assam was around 0.13 lakhs as 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 and to force them to haul goods, it can
sink more than a centimetre deep into their mouths ripping
their lips and tongues and causing extreme pain, bloody
wounds, immense psychological trauma, and lifelong damage, the
release said.
"These illegal torture devices lacerate horses' mouths
and leave them with tremendous pain.
    "We are grateful that the Assam 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", the release quoted PETA India senior legal counsel
Swati Sumbly as saying.
    Based on the results of a multi-state survey of
government efforts to enforce a ban on using spiked bits on
horses, PETA India had launched a nationwide campaign in
December 2019.
Now, several states, including Himachal Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana and Uttar
Pradesh have issued orders mandating the enforcement of this
prohibition, the release said.
Besides campaigning for the confiscation of the
illegally used devices by the police, the animal rights
organisation also stressed the need for laws to ban the
manufacture and sale of spiked bits, the release said. PTI

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)