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An average of 22,000 pilgrims visit the Vaishno Devi Shrine in the beautiful state of Jammu, every single day, with some days exceeding 50,000 devotees. The climb to the shrine begins in a region called Katra and involves a 14 km hike uphill to the shrine via steep slopes and narrow lanes. The point of a pilgrimage is to wash aways your sins and to test and strengthen your faith – yet, a recent visit to Vaishno Devi left one pilgrim shocked and saddened, causing him to “lose his faith in humanity,” as he watched devotees unwittingly sin against God and humanity in their ignorant abuse of the mute, helpless mules, donkeys and horses – many of whom are blind, lame, pregnant and suffering from diseases – that are made to carry the pilgrims up the mountain to the shrine.

There are nearly 20,000 mules and donkeys working at Vaishno Devi that spend their entire day trudging painfully up and down the steep and precarious slope carrying an average of 90-100 kilos on their back in all sorts of weather conditions, beaten, prodded and abused all the way to force them to keep moving even when their exhausted bodies are beginning to give way under the pain and stress of what they are made to do. Despite claims that veterinary care is available reports and first hand experiences show that help is rare and hardly forthcoming for these poor beings.

It is saddening, and hypocritical, to use the brutal abuse and torture of a sentient but voiceless being, to supposedly affirm ones faith in God, while systematically destroying ones faith in humanity. After all, are they not God’s creatures too?

Sign our petition to raise your voice for these voiceless animals that cannot themselves protest the unnecessary atrocities being committed against them in the name of religion.