Delhi: The Delhi police, with the support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, seized four bone-thin, malnourished, and injured horses used for weddings and other ceremonies in the city.
One horse, who was found under Maharaja Surajmal Stadium metro station in Nangloi village, had large wounds on her body and legs.
Another, who was found in the cow park near Sanjay Market in Nand Nagri, was lame from an old fracture of the left front leg and was unable to bear her bodyweight on the leg.
Of the two mares seized from JJ Colony in Nangloi, one was suffering from a severe skin infection and the other had no vision in her left eye.
The seizures follow PETA India's complaints to Delhi police requesting that the force crack down on rampant cruelty to horses used for weddings and other ceremonial purposes.
The group complained that animals used for such events are frequently found to be sick, injured, and lame and that when they're not being forced to give rides or perform, they're typically kept in filthy conditions and tied up with ropes that are often so short that the animals can't engage in normal movements.
The horses are also commonly denied adequate food, water, and veterinary care, and many collapse from exhaustion or dehydration, especially when they're given no respite from the extreme heat.
Because they are forced to live in unsanitary conditions, aren't given proper hoof care, and are made to stand on hard concrete for long periods, they're vulnerable to conditions such as arthritis (inflammation of joints), canker (a cauliflower-like growth inside the foot), thrush (an infection), and laminitis (a painful inflammation of the sensitive inner foot).
The group also pointed out that despite being prohibited under Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, the use of spiked (or "thorn") bits to control these horses is common.
These devices rip animals' lips and tongues, causing extreme pain, bloody wounds, immense psychological trauma, and lifelong damage.
"Brides and grooms are often shocked to learn that horses used for weddings are commonly malnourished, sick, and wounded and that horse providers often use spiked bits to keep these animals still amid the terrifying and chaotic noises and crowds of weddings," says PETA India CEO and equine expert Dr Manilal Valliyate.
"The sad condition of the four horses seized by Delhi police shows exactly why PETA India is calling on couples to leave horses out of their weddings and celebrate with compassion, not cruelty,” he adds.
PETA India is taking action to encourage couples planning a wedding to celebrate their nuptials without exploiting horses and is urging horse owners to end the use of illegal spiked bits.
The group has also sent a letter calling on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to enforce the law against the use of these torture devices and amend Rule 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, to include a ban on their manufacture and sale as well.
The group also wrote to Amazon.in to ask that the vile devices be removed from its e-commerce site.