Help Shut Down Cruel Horse Facilities in India
A series of
inspections – authorised by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and
conducted by experts from prominent veterinary colleges and PETA India – have
revealed widespread suffering and neglect of thousands of horses, donkeys, and mules who are used as
living factories to produce antitoxins.
numerous apparent violations of laws and guidelines. Most of the facilities
were not even registered with India's Committee for the Purpose of Control and
Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) to conduct these procedures on
animals. Pregnant mares and foals were found at some facilities that were not
officially registered as breeders.
India's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960,
requires people who are responsible for animals to take all reasonable
measures to ensure their well-being and to prevent unnecessary pain or
suffering. But inspectors found that the animals in these facilities suffered
from health problems and were fearful and anxious. When approached by humans,
many of them struggled to get away. Common physical problems included anaemia, bleeding and infected wounds, diseased hooves, malnourishment, parasites, swollen
limbs, abnormal gaits, and eye abnormalities such as blindness. Basic husbandry
procedures such as dental care and hoof trimming appeared to be ignored, and
improper tools were used for grooming.
The facilities often used
painfully large needles – larger than the size recommended by the CPCSEA
guidelines – in order to collect blood more quickly.
The CPCSEA guidelines state that horses and other equines need sand
baths, daily exercise, daily grooming, the opportunity to socialise, open
fields for grazing, and clean bedding for respite from hard concrete floors.
But the equines at these facilities were typically kept in crowded,
barren paddocks and often tied with ropes that severely limited their movement.
Many were forced to stand and lie in
their own urine and faeces, and some suffered from "capped elbow", a
painful inflammation and swelling of the joint caused by lying on hard floors.
help prevent horses, mules, and donkeys from being abused by urging the Indian
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the CPCSEA to deny or cancel the
facilities' animal-experimentation registration renewals and immediately revoke
their licences to manufacture biological products.
urge the Indian Ministry of Science & Technology and the Indian Ministry of
Health & Family Welfare to encourage companies to use non-animal methods of
antitoxin and antivenin production.