Written by Kriti-S
We've grown up listening to and humming along to his
soulful ghazals. His magical voice has touched the hearts of millions of people
around the world, and now that Jagjit Singh is gone, he will always be
remembered for this beautiful voice and for his decision to use it to speak up
for those whose cries often go unheard: animals.
As the world pays tribute to the legendary singer, we take
this time to remind you that Singh helped PETA's campaign to stop elephants from
being needlessly killed by speeding trains on railway tracks. His efforts to
help stop the cruelty to these magnificent giants will live on through PETA's
campaign until adequate steps are taken by the government to end their
suffering. Singh had fired off a letter to former Railways Minister Kumari
Mamata Banerjee calling on her to use her time in the Ministry to limit the
speed of trains running through elephant corridors and to use speed-detection
guns – successfully demonstrated by PETA – to monitor train speeds.
"It is difficult to understand why elephants
continue to die when there are ways to solve this problem", wrote Singh,
who noted that strict speed limits are particularly important in areas where
elephants are common. "A speed-detection device, which PETA has procured
and demonstrated, offers an effective, simple way to slow down trains. Drivers
going at dangerous speeds could be punished, and notifying conductors that such
monitoring is taking place will encourage them to slow down."
In Jagjitji's honour, become a part of the campaign
that was close to his heart. Take action to help elephants here.
Written by PETA
It turns out that the happy reunion of the elephant Marriapan with his mom was just the beginning of the good news. After years of campaigning by PETA India against keeping elephants in captivity, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) banned the use of elephants in zoos in 2009. The CZA has since relocated 18 elephants from zoos throughout India to spacious forest sanctuaries, where they will be able to roam, receive professional veterinary care and enjoy the company of other elephants.
Some zoos, however, are attempting to dodge this directive by asking to be exempt from having to relocate elephants, including the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, where an elephant frustrated by captivity killed a man last year.
Rahul Khanna and Celina Jaitly back PETA's call for the elephants' freedom.
Says Rahul, "At this time of Ganesh Chaturthi, as the whole nation gears up to celebrate an elephant god, I urge the CZA to now take steps to ensure all remaining elephants are moved to forest areas immediately, including those jailed at Byculla Zoo".
Brand-new bride Celina Jaitly says, "In Mumbai and other parts of India, elephants in captivity are kept in cruel conditions. It breaks my heart to see them separated from their families as babies and sentenced to a lifetime of boredom, loneliness and abuse. I applaud the CZA's decision that a zoo environment is wholly inadequate for elephants".
It is now your turn to urge the CZA to keep their commitment to send every elephant still held captive in Indian zoos to forest areas. Write to the CZA's Member Secretary, Mr BS Bonal, at email@example.com.
Do you all remember the elephant Mariappan and how he was kept chained for many long years in a temple until local activist Radha Swami, PETA and other caring people helped get him moved to a zoo? We now have an update on the situation that we would like to share with you: Mariappan has now been permanently moved back to his birthplace!
Mariappan was initially moved to Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur and is now at Anamalai Tiger Reserve, where he was born. After 17 years of separation, he was recently reunited with his mother and has made many new elephant friends.
Our director of veterinary affairs, Dr Manilal Valliyate, says, "Daily walking, mental stimulation and the company of other elephants are essential to an elephant's mental and physical health, and we thank the Forest Department for seeing to it that Mariappan – who has suffered far more than any living being ever should – is now back home where he belongs".
Unfortunately, not all elephants in captivity meet a happy fate. There is a growing scandal over the way in which elephants used in temples are typically kept. They are chained and controlled through beatings and are prodded and gouged in sensitive areas behind their knees and ears with an ankus – a rod with a sharp iron hook on the end. They rarely receive enough food or water, and most of them never see a veterinarian, even when they are injured or ill.
We extend our full support and strongly encourage the Tamil Nadu Government to take action quickly on behalf of other temple elephants in Tamil Nadu who need to be rescued and rehabilitated.
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