One might think it’s called the sugarcane crushing season because of the unbearable weight of the overloaded carts that bullocks are forced to haul for long, grueling hours—without adequate rest, food, or care. As if the cart weren’t already heavy enough—and it is—it’s often topped with the family of a man wielding a whip.

These bullocks are forced to haul crushing loads of sugarcane.

While the term refers to the process of crushing sugarcane to extract its juices, Animal Rahat spends this season working to reduce the crushing loads and other abuse meted out to animals who are forced to work in this industry.

Teams have been busy posting animal welfare signs that warn against the use of torture devices like spiked tin cylinders, which cause injury if the bullocks turn their head, and painful ropes threaded through the animals’ nostrils, which are used like brakes—pulled on so hard that they often bleed and tear. Animal Rahat staff are also working with factory owners to ensure the use of sand beds for farriery and rubber mats at weigh stations to help prevent the animals from sustaining injuries.

Animal Rahat’s team visits sugar factories in Maharashtra to ensure that bullocks are treated less cruelly when they’re forced to work.

While the ultimate goal is to mechanize each factory so that it’s animal-free, Animal Rahat will visit factories throughout the season to push for measures that alleviate key factors in the bullocks’ suffering.