White horses have a long history in Indian weddings, but the practice has a dark side, with the animals often being physically abused and neglected. The issue received a much-needed boost in the Indian media with the announcement from Bollywood stars and animal lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt that their wedding would be “horse-free.”

In response to this welcome news, Indian animal rescue group, Animal Rahat, has given the couple a special gift: naming two recently rescued white horses Alia and Ranbir after the bride and groom.

Commenting in a news outlet, Dr. Naresh Upreti, chief operating officer of Anima Rahat, said, “Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor chose to keep their big day horse-free. A wedding is a perfect occasion for anyone to spare a thought for and show love to all our fellow sentient beings.”

The non-profit has a clear mandate to provide working animals, including horses, donkeys, ponies, and bullocks (castrated male cows) with veterinary care, as well as helping wildlife and street dogs. The organization has two sanctuaries dedicated to the care of retired, orphaned, or abandoned animals.

Animal Rahat’s ultimate goal is to replace all working animals with mini-tractors and other mechanized transport so that their suffering can be ended forever.

As for the equine Alia and Ranbir, their histories are filled with unhappy tales. The mare, Alia, spent her life “performing” at wedding ceremonies and according to Upreti, “was in a terrible condition when she was found. She was anemic, had multiple infected wounds, and was so severely malnourished that her ribs and hip bones jutted out.”

Ranbir was rescued from Mumbai, where he was found pulling a heavy Victorian carriage. The news report said the horse “suffered from painful swelling on all four legs and acute osteoarthritis.”

But happily, both horses found peace at one of Animal Rahat’s sanctuaries and are making steady progress with a proper diet and veterinary care.

For more information on Animal Rahat or to donate, click here.