He was known only as „299“ – the number given to him by experimenters.
Workers stab huge needles into the veins of animals like 299, who suffer immensely in antitoxin factories in India. Each time, litres of blood are siphoned from their bodies, leaving them debilitated. And that’s not all that’s done to them – please read on.
Animal Welfare Board of India–authorised inspectors from PETA India and prominent veterinary colleges found 299 with a severe and crippling hoof condition. His thin body was covered with painful pressure ulcers. He was one of many horses, donkeys, and mules suffering from open wounds, malnutrition, and other serious health conditions in this shameful blood collection dump.
Antitoxins are important medicines, but believe it or not, many are still made using the same old, cruel methods developed more than a century ago. Pharmaceutical companies „harvest“ them from the blood that’s drained from donkeys, mules, and horses like 299. In this process, the animals are first injected with a poisonous substance (a toxin). Then, after their immune system has responded, a massive amount of their blood is drawn. But the misery endured by these animals goes far beyond the pain of being repeatedly poisoned and forcibly bled.
At these companies, PETA India’s inspectors documented that, although there were paid veterinarians on the premises, severe health conditions – including anaemia, infections, swollen limbs, and malnutrition – were often ignored. Many of the animals were discovered in crowded, filthy enclosures, where they were forced to stand and lie in their own accumulated urine and faeces on hard floors that left some with painful joint conditions. Basic grooming and husbandry practices seemed almost non-existent, even as workers handled the animals to collect blood from them over and over again.
Nearly everywhere the inspectors looked, they found violations of laws and guidelines. Many of the facilities where they witnessed some of the worst abuse and neglect – including the one where they found 299 – weren’t even registered with the Indian government authority that issues permits for these procedures!
Since the release of PETA India’s disturbing inspection report, thousands of people have called for the Indian government to deny or revoke these horrific facilities‘ licences to use animals. But stopping the suffering of the thousands of horses, donkeys, and mules who are abused in antitoxin production will take more than closing a few facilities.
That’s why the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. – an organisation that coordinates the scientific and regulatory expertise of PETA and its affiliates – is funding ground-breaking new research into the manufacturing of antitoxins in laboratories. This exciting research is a critical step towards replacing cruel antitoxin production with modern methods that won’t harm a single animal. As an added benefit, making antitoxins in the laboratory avoids the serious illnesses that humans can experience when they receive doses of antitoxins made from animals‘ blood.