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