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Facebook post about deplorable state of animals in Vaishno Devi creates huge outcry; official refutes claims

In a Facebook post, Shivam Rai shared a pitiful account of how handlers "exploit" and "torture" the poor animals. In a detailed post accompanied by photos and videos, Rai says how these animals are hit with sticks when they deny carrying more load or are no more able to walk.

Written by Arun Sharma , Shreya Das | New Delhi/jammu |
Updated: February 1, 2018 9:54:25 pm
vaishno devi, Vaishno Devi shrine, Vaishno Devi yatra, Vaishno Devi animals, Vaishno Devi shrine animals sorry state, viral news, trending news, animal cruelty, indian express As Rai’s post went viral he urges pilgrims to not ride animals if they see it in poor health condition. (Source: Shivam Rai/ Facebook)

Every year lakhs of pilgrims undertake an extremely difficult voyage to reach the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. The rigorous journey is not only difficult for the people who find it challenging to acclimatise with the altitude and the harsh weather condition, but also for the animals who carry people on their backs. The uphill and downhill journey on the narrow lanes and steep hills are extremely difficult for the mules, horses and ponies that are used to ferry the pilgrims and luggage — and the conditions are quite concerning. One such sorry plight of a horse has created a huge outcry on social media after a post by a Kurukshetra man has gone viral.

In a Facebook post, Shivam Rai shared a pitiful account of how handlers “exploit” and “torture” the poor animals. In a detailed post accompanied by photos and videos, Rai says how these animals are hit with sticks when they deny carrying more load or are not able to walk. Saying his faith in humanity was lost in the trip, he wrote, “As we started our journey towards Vaishnav Devi, I found humans going to Devi place to get the blessings sitting on the shoulders of humans and on the back of horses, the worst situation I found with the innocent and speechless horses and mules who were giving ride continuously on the steep slope of around 24 km up and down with an average weight of 90-100 kg on their back. [SIC]”

Going a few kilometres higher up he saw a horse limping and shivering. “Suddenly I saw his legs, and his front right leg wrist had broken…😢😢😢”. He tried to look for some help and even contacted the shrine board’s emergency number but alleges that “shrine board security members were not co-operative.” After much trying and being an education and conservation officer with Wildlife SOS, an NGO that works for abused animals, Rai was able to get a contact with a veterinarian. However, upon asking for help from board members he received no help. “Even then after struggling almost 2.30 hrs we didn’t found any help from shrine board.”

Watch the video here:

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His post created a huge outrage on the social media platform with people slamming the lacklustre and ignorance by the authorities to help the animal.

Talking to indianexpress.com, Rai said after a lot of efforts he met with a senior officer deputed by shrine board. “After a hard conversation he arranged a cart to carry that horse until the end of yatra and I also contacted a govt vet for its treatment. But I am not sure they have done that or not because that horse was without any tag,” he added.

With his post, he hopes people will be aware of the poor condition of the animals and deny taking rides on animals that have been physically abused or is in a sorry state.

In his post, Rai also alleged, “There was not a single veterinary officer to look after the condition of those horses.” However, this claim was refuted by the Neelam Khajuria, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Katra. Talking to indianexpress.com, she said that there are three veterinary dispensaries, one at Banganga itself and other three en route to the Marathon Vaishnodevi shrine. “Two of the dispensaries are being managed by the Marathon Vaishnodevi Shrine Board itself,” she said, adding that these dispensaries have doctors and other staff, besides adequate stocks of medicines.

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She also denied Rai’s claim on animal cruelty and that the dead bodies of the animals are disposed of in the mountains saying, the local administration gets the proper disposal of the Caracas of dead animals by getting it burred in a pit. Highlighting just one instance Khajuria added, an FIR was registered against the pony owner when the Caracas of a dead animal was thrown into the gorge.

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First published on: 01-02-2018 at 09:29:20 pm

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