Cruelty to Jaipur Elephants Used for Tourism

Posted on by PETA

The extensive inspection of elephants in Jaipur conducted by a team including experienced veterinarians and Honorary Animal Welfare Officers from PETA India, Animal Rahat, Wildlife SOS and the Centre for Studies on Elephants at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Kerala showed rampant and widespread abuse of captive elephants used for elephant rides and other tourist activities in Jaipur, in violation of Indian animal-protection laws.

After learning about the findings, the Animal Welfare Board of India decided not to permit the use of elephants for the annual Elephant Festival, and the event was called off this year.

PETA is now calling on the Rajasthan state government to stop the use of elephants for any purpose, including tourism and ceremonies, and instead to set up an elephant sanctuary with a no-breeding policy under the chain-free protected-contact system of management for rescued elephants. PETA is also calling on the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to look into the legality of Hathigaon, where the elephants are housed, and urges all tourists to stop patronising elephant rides and other uses of captive elephants.

The findings of the inspection included the following issues:

  • Injured and unfit elephants, including blind ones, were forced to work
This elephant, who was blind in one eye, possibly because of corneal opacity, was being forced to work.

This elephant, who was blind in one eye, possibly because of corneal opacity, was being forced to work.

  • Iron ankuses, which are prohibited by the Rajasthan High Court’s order, were used.
These eight iron ankuses were seized.

These eight iron ankuses were seized.

  • Chains or hobbles with spikes or sharp edges were used to restrain the elephants.
Spiked hobble chains were found tied around the front legs of this elephant.

Spiked hobble chains were found tied around the front legs of this elephant.

  • Elephants were continuously tethered or chained by more than one foot.
Severe scars from tethering wounds on the hind legs of an elephant indicated continuous tethering and chaining.

Severe scars from tethering wounds on the hind legs of an elephant indicated continuous tethering and chaining.

  • Elephants’ ears had been mutilated.
This elephant had several holes punched in his ear from which to hang ornamental accessories.

This elephant had several holes punched in his ear from which to hang ornamental accessories.

  • Elephants had serious foot ailments.
This elephant had abnormally overgrown toenails with cracks, which is a clear indication of a complete lack of care and severe neglect.

This elephant had abnormally overgrown toenails with cracks, which is a clear indication of a complete lack of care and severe neglect.

  • Stereotypic behaviour, such as constant swaying, head-bobbing, etc – the result of severe frustration – indicated serious mental deterioration.
This elephant expressed stereotypic stress behaviour, including weaving, swaying and head-bobbing. She also had holes drilled in her tushes.

This elephant expressed stereotypic stress behaviour, including weaving, swaying and head-bobbing. She also had holes drilled in her tushes.

  • Elephants’ tusks and tushes had been cut or had had holes drilled into them without permission from the state wildlife department, which is an apparent violation of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
This elephant had multiple holes drilled into her tushes.

This elephant had multiple holes drilled into her tushes.

  • The rooms for all 51 elephants fell well short of the 1.2 acres of land per elephant required by the CZA’s guidelines.
This elephant stood in a restrictive shed.

This elephant stood in a restrictive shed.

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