Following Pressure From PETA And AWBI, Rajasthan Government Cancels Elephant Festival
For Immediate Release:
25 March 2013
Group’s Letters and Board’s Advisory Lead Government to Halt Cruel Event
Jaipur, Rajasthan – Just one day before a scheduled elephant festival, the Department of Tourism has announced that as per the instructions of Rajasthan’s Minister of Tourism, it will not be organising the event. The department’s announcement follows appeals by PETA as well as an advisory from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) that pointed out that the organisers had failed to register the elephants with the AWBI, as required under the Performing Animal (Registration) Rules, 2001, and also had not submitted valid elephant ownership certificates. In addition, the event contravened Rajasthan government’s own 2010 order, which prohibits the use of elephants in any functions, sports, events, exhibitions, meeting or other public gatherings without registering with the AWBI.
“Every year, more people realise that the elephant festival is nothing but an exhibition of cruelty to animals – from taking them out of nature to their training and life of privation and servitude”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “The decision of the Minister of Tourism is a victory for the elephants who would otherwise have been forced to perform in this abusive event.”
Although it is illegal to beat and torture animals, elephants used for work are trained through beatings and the constant threat of a stick or an iron ankus (a rod with a sharp metal hook on the end). Elephants are forest animals, yet they have been brought to Rajasthan to work outdoors in the desert sun for long hours and walk on pavement which burns their feet. Often, they are not given enough food or water. When not working, they are kept in chains, unable to take more than one step in any direction. Capturing an elephant is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, yet many captive elephants are thought to have been captured illegally from the wild and separated from their mothers as babies.
PETA’s letters and the AWBI’s advisory to Rajasthan officials are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.