Vaishno Devi Shrine Board: stop the use of horses/mules for carrying pilgrims
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Please support my request to the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board - that manages the famous Vaishno Devi temple in India - to prohibit the use of mules/horses to carry pilgrims, to develop more humane way for pilgrims to reach the temple such as battery-driven vehicles or similar alternatives and employ erstwhile animal handlers as drivers and other alternative jobs.
Pack mules and horses that are used to carry pilgrims up and down to and from the shrine live lives of horrific suffering and abuse. These animals carry 80-100 kgs up and down steep terrains non-stop and almost round the clock. Many have bleeding sores in the mouth from reign-pulling and on the backs because of the rough saddles. Many limp from foot injuries and damaged joints. To force them to continue, handlers hit them repeatedly often till their flesh tears, twist tails and terrorise them. Incidents where tired horses have slipped, fallen and broken their forelegs have been reported. While 3000 horses are registered officially, approximately 10,000 horses are used. There is totally inadequate veterinary aid. Fraudulent health certificates are easily acquired.
It is a shame that in the temple of the revered Mata Vaishno Devi, animals are so brutally exploited and many devotees ride these suffering creatures for blessings and wellbeing!
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