PETA India filed a petition this week in the Kerala High Court to address the suffering of elephants in festivals like Thrissur Pooram, while Co-opted Member of the Board Gauri Maulekhi filed a case on the same in the Supreme Court. This move follows a directive by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) which stated organizers should leave live elephants out of the upcoming Thrissur Pooram today because they have neither applied for nor obtained permission from the Board, though such permission to use animals in performances is required by law.
The Kerala High Court today which is operating on a vacation bench did not issue an interim direction to stop the use of live elephants in Thrissur Pooram today, but will be hearing the matter after court vacations.
The organisers of today’s Thrissur Pooram have reportedly decided to chain the feet of the elephants together.
Although it is illegal to beat and torture animals, elephants forced to participate in parades are trained through physical punishment and the constant threat of being struck with a stick or an ankus (a weapon with a sharp metal hook on the end). 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, separated from their mothers as babies and transported to Kerala.
The campaign to protect Kerala’s elephants by PETA has included a letter from long-time elephant friend Pamela Anderson , who offered to purchase 30 faux elephants for today’s Thrissur Pooram so that they may be used instead of live elephants, but her offer was not taken up.
You Can Help:
If your temple keeps elephants, speak up. Urge temple officials to surrender the elephants to the forest department for rehabilitation at a sanctuary.