Actor John Abraham isn’t just turning heads with his latest action thriller Pathaan – the star also appears in an eye-catching campaign calling attention to the suffering of elephants used for tourist rides. Celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani worked with the former PETA India Person of the Year to create the captivating image, which he has donated to PETA India.
“Working in entertainment should involve consent and be a joy, but elephants who are forced into this industry are taken from their families, beaten, shackled, and abused,” says Abraham. “My friends at PETA India and I encourage everyone to avoid elephant rides.”
To force elephants to give rides, trainers use extreme physical and psychological punishment and break the spirits of baby elephants by dragging them from their mothers, immobilising them, and repeatedly gouging them with weapons, leaving them hopeless and traumatised.
For years, Abraham has advocated tirelessly for animals in need. His past work for PETA India includes speaking up for monkeys forced to dance, calling on authorities to clamp down on illegal pig slaughter in Goa, starring in a campaign urging people not to keep birds in cages, and successfully urging e-commerce website Quikr to stop facilitating animal sales and e-ticketing platform BookMyShow to promote animal-free circuses only.
While elephants’ home ranges in nature can reach up to 800 square kilometres, in captivity, they often suffer from foot problems and arthritis as a result of long periods spent chained on hard surfaces. Many suffer from malnutrition or dehydration or die prematurely.
More than 100 travel companies – including global operators such as Tripadvisor, Intrepid Travel, and TUI Group – have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants.
Say NO to elephant rides!