india

Microchips implanted in horses, ponies used for tourism purpose

Owners who abandon such animals can be tracked using the details

Horses and ponies being used for horse riding in the Nilgiris are being implanted with microchips as part of another effort to regulate equestrian tourism in the district.

For over a year, the district administration has been making efforts to regulate horse riding and to ensure the welfare of the animals. These efforts include prohibiting the horse owners to offer rides to tourists on the town’s roads, and also clamping down on owners who do not provide proper shelter to their animals.

The Nilgiris Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), Department of Animal Husbandry and veterinarians from the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS-India), have began implanting microchips into the horses and ponies that are being used for tourism purposes in Udhagamandalam town. The microchips will have ownership details of the horses so that the owners of abandoned or uncared for animals can be tracked and action can be taken against them.

The Tourism Department has assigned two spots around the Ooty lake where tourists can enjoy horse riding. This will also mean that prices for horse rides will be fixed and the tourists will not be exploited.

Nigel Otter, chairman of WVS-India, said the move to restrict horse rides to designated areas would ensure that the animals were safe and had less chance of sustaining injuries, especially from traffic. Ilona Otter, WVS Director of International Veterinary Training, along with other vets, implanted the microchips into the animals.

Nagina Reddy, nodal officer for NSPCA, said the move was a joint effort spearheaded by the Collector and involved the Udhagamandalam Municipality, the Department of Animal Husbandry and the NSPCA. She said it was aimed not only at promoting animal welfare, but at also ensuring the livelihoods of the horse owners. “The two designated spots are very scenic ones, and will definitely bring in more tourists,” said Ms. Reddy.

The district administration had already banned the use of retired race horses for riding.

Owners of the horses, who abandon them on the streets, could be fined and the animals could be confiscated, officials said.

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