Actor-couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s wedding has taken the internet by storm. And among the numerous gifts and good wishes coming their way is a gesture by Animal Rahat, a non-profit organisation that offers free aid for horses who pull carts or are used at weddings, donkeys used in brick kilns and bullocks in sugar mills. The NGO has rescued two inseparable, severely abused horses and named them after the newlyweds.
“Alia, the mare, was rescued from wedding horse trade, where she was used, despite being malnourished and wounded. Meanwhile, Ranbir, the stallion, was rescued from being forced to haul a heavy tourist carriage,” says Shashikar Bharadhwaj, senior community development manager at the NGO.
Lauding the actor-couple for going horse-free on their big day, Dr Naresh Upreti, chief operating officer, says: “There are so many people abusing horses [at wedding processions]. During a wedding, the horses are controlled using the spiked bits, causing injury to their mouth. Also, bursting crackers causes a lot of fear and distress in them. So, we wanted to use this occasion to highlight the importance of not abusing animals for one’s own joy.”
The organisation, working since 2003, aims to rescue animals reeling under the burden of hauling bricks, lugging carts, etc. “In the last ten years, we’ve replaced over 50,000 bullocks from around 26 sugar mills in Maharashtra with around 9,900 mini tractors and 3,700 large tractors,” says Upreti, adding, “People should understand they are abusing the animals. Sometimes, the bullocks hauling overloaded carts fracture their legs. These animals often suffer from yoke abscess, diarrhoea, lameness, etc.”
The mare and the stallion have begun a new journey, like the newlyweds, at the Animal Rahat sanctuary, where they receive nutritious food and extensive veterinary care. “Now, they are happy and together, just as (actors) Alia and Ranbir will be forever!” adds Bharadhwaj.
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