PETA, People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals
, stirred up a controversy when it put up a
post on Twitter saying that the use of horses in wedding ceremonies, a staple
in marriages across large parts of India, is “abusive and cruel”. Indian Twitter
users were enraged at the animal rights organisation’s comment on a long-held
custom in Hindu and Sikh households.

The tweet, by PETA
India, said: “Using horses at wedding ceremonies is abusive and cruel”. Soon,
Indians started slamming PETA for their position with several Twitter users
calling the group ‘anti-India and anti-Hindu’.

Avinash MK, a
Twitter user, underlined: “Dear PETA, we are not killing horses at wedding
ceremonies.” Another user, slammed PETA for what he claimed was hyprocrisy on
the part of the animal rights group because it did not criticise riding horses
for polo and races or policing.

PETA on the other
hand said that spiked bits are torture devices that can injure horses. Radhika
Suryavanshi, senior campaign coordinator of PETA India told Indiatimes, “Spiked
bits are torture devices
that can injure and traumatize horses for live. PETA India
is asking couples to have a heart for horses and leave them out of their
wedding day celebrations.”

Spiked bits are metal
devices embedded deep into mouths of animals to maintain control over them.
They are composed of two small, hinged metal cylinders covered with spikes (or
sharp spirals) that are attached to the mouth. Spiked bits are intended to cut
into the horse’s lips and tongue when the reins are pulled and the use of the
devices is illegal under rule 8 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and
Pack Animals Rules of 1965.

Irrespective, PETA’s
stance, which some believed was a criticism of Indian customs did not go down
well with many.

PETA started its
campaign against use of horses in wedding ceremonies in September, ahead of the
wedding season. The group started alerting the public to the cruel practice of
using spiked bits to control horses.

Aside from this
tweet on horses, PETA also tagged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday
asking him to follow the example set by the European Parliament and phase out
animal experiments.

People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was established in 1980 in the United
States. A non-profit animal rights group, PETA claims to have 9 million members
and supporters across the globe.