Equines Suffer When Used to Produce Antivenins and Antitoxins
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
November 2016


Without anesthesia, they are restrained and large volumes of blood are drawn from a vein in the neck—up to 15 percent of their blood at a time, which can be as much as 2 gallons—and they are subjected to this abuse over and over again.

And it's not just the bleeding that they are forced to endure. A series of recent inspections of the facilities where these animals are kept uncovered terrible living conditions. Many suffered from anemia, diseased hooves, eye abnormalities, infections, parasites, and malnutrition and lived in crowded, filthy enclosures without adequate veterinary care.

abused horses

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In 2015, veterinarians and a scientist from PETA India and other groups were authorised by the Animal Welfare Board of India to inspect 10 facilities that produce antitoxins and antivenins.

With the exception of one that outsources its work, all the facilities extract large volumes of blood from horses, donkeys,or mules. The inspectors observed many animals suffering from anaemia, bleeding and infected wounds, and other serious health problems.

Inspectors documented numerous apparent violations of laws and guidelines. Most of the facilities were not even registered with the 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 of the facilities that were not officially registered as breeders.

The 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 diseased hooves, malnourishment, infections, parasites, swollen limbs, abnormal gaits, and eye abnormalities such as blindness. Basic husbandry procedures such asdental care and hoof trimming appeared to be ignored, and improper tools were used for grooming.

The facilities often used painfully large needles 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 animals 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.

You can help prevent horses, mules, and donkeys from being abused and exploited by urging the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and theCPCSEA to deny or cancel the companies' animal-experimentation registration renewals and immediately revoke their licences to manufacture biological products.Please also urge the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to transition to non-animal methods of antitoxin and antivenin production.


Antitoxins have been manufactured this way for more than 100 years, but there is a better way.

The Consortium is providing €134,000 (roughly $144,000) to experts at the Institute of Biochemistry, Biotechnology, and Bioinformatics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany. This funding will support the creation of antitoxins that will be able to block the poisonous toxin that causes diphtheria, a serious illness that can result in difficulty breathing and severe damage to the kidneys, nervous system, and heart. And the best part is that they will be manufactured in the laboratory, without harming a single horse.

This is good news for humans, too. Antitoxins made from horse blood don't last very long and can cause illness in humans, but both problems will be avoided by making antitoxins in the laboratory.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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