The Assam government has banned the use of spiked bits or yokes with spikes on horses and directed district veterinary officers to enforce the prohibition under the cruelty provisions to the Drought and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, officials said on Tuesday.
The Assam government order was issued recently by the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department Secretary Devajyoti Hazarika following a complaint by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA-India).
Hazarika, in the order available with IANS, told all the 33 Assam District Veterinary Officers (DVO) that the rules expressly prohibit the use of spiked sticks or bits, harness or yoke with spikes, knobs, or projections or any sharp tackle or equipment for the purpose of driving or riding an animal or causing it to draw any vehicle or otherwise controlling the animals.
PETA-India in a press release on Tuesday said that the population of horses in Assam was around 13,000 as recorded in the 20th Livestock Census 2019 conducted by the government. According to the release, when spiked bits are used to control horses used for weddings, riding and to force them to ferry 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.
PETA- India, thanking the Assam government for banning the use of the spiked bits, said that it would help the authorities to enforce the law, if asked to.
PETA India had launched a nationwide campaign in 2019 based on the outcome of a multi-state survey of government efforts to impose a ban on using spiked bits on horses. The release said that before Assam, many states, including Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh have already issued orders enforcing these prohibitions.
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