In a concerning development reported from Kedarnath Yatra – as many as 60 mules are reported to have died in just 20 days after being beaten up drugged and overworked. Recently, TOI conducted an enquiry which shed light on the startling and heartbreaking figure. In its report, TOI stated that the mules are being made to take multiple trips due to the intense footfall the yatra has received after the “backlog” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mules are being forced to carry heavy load, and survive in treacherous and strenuous conditions.

According to local residents, mules and horses are “beaten mercilessly” and even “given narcotics” so that they continue on their path. It should be noted that the yatra route prior to 2013 Kedarnath Floods had four rest points and check-up stops for the horses and mules. Shockingly enough, the new route has not a single one of those stops. “It is a common sight to see the animals slipping, especially on the way down, because of the rains and the terrain,” a TOI report quoted a traveler saying.

It should be noted that earlier on May 29, it was reported that a notice was sent to the UP government over the issue of mule deaths. Gauri Mulekhi of People for Animals sent a notice about the matter. In the notice, the activist noted that authorities have failed to restrict the use of animals.

The Facts of the Matter

For pilgrims across nation, Kedarnath is one of the most pious and religious places. Pilgrims of all ages go on the Kedarnath Yatra every year for salvation and attaining ‘moksha’. Due to the treacherous terrain, people with physical disabilities and challenges ride horses and mules to reach to the Kedarnath Temple. Recently, a shocking development emerged where it has been reported at least 60 mules have died in the last 20 days due to being beaten up, drugged and overworked.

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Traveler Shares Heart-Wrenching Account

A TOI report quoted a traveler sharing heartbreaking account of the state of animals at Kedarnath. “It is a common sight to see the animals slipping, especially on the way down, because of the rains and the terrain. Yesterday, a horse slipped, hit its muzzle on the ground but the handler just hit the animal with a stick so that it wouldn’t stop.”

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Animals “beaten mercilessly & given narcotics”

Locals have stated that animals on Kedarnath route are being “beaten mercilessly with sticks and given narcotics” so that the keep going. It should be noted that prior to 2013 floods, there were four rest and check-up points for horses and mules. Following the 2013 Kedarnath floods, there is not a single such stop.

No Change After Advisory Sent by Minister

Although an advisory was sent by animal husbandry minister Saurabh Bahuguna which directed mule-handlers to avoid the animals getting over-exerted, the situation on ground has not changed. Earlier, animal rights activist Gauri Mulekhi sent a notice to UP chief secretary over the reports of mule deaths in Kedarnath.

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Mule-Handlers Abandoning Bodies

In the notice, the animal rights activist stated that proper mechanisms or regulatory directives have not been implemented at Kedarnath which has caused animals getting overworked to such an extent that they have died. Further, the notice also stated that the bodies of mules have been abandoned by the owners.


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