PETA Founder Delivers Thousands Of Tourist Signatures To Ban Elephant Rides

Posted on by PETA

A day after PETA supporters wearing elephant masks and Modi jackets took part in a demonstration on the streets of Delhi calling for a ban on elephant rides, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk met Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Mr KJ Alphons, and delivered digitally signed appeals on behalf of more than 63,000 people worldwide to the ministry requesting a ban on elephant rides. The appeals were all signed within a matter of days, after a video spread around the globe showing an elephant used in the tourist trade being beaten so hard that the animal’s leg broke, as did the canes used for the beating. In just a couple of days more, signatures exceeded 85.5 thousand.

Minister Alphons expressed his concern for the plight of elephants, watched the video in horror, and then replayed it. He made clear that he will put his office to good use to prevent cruelty to these sensitive animals by issuing an advisory to state governments and union territories.

Soon after, Newkirk wore a grey costume to resemble an elephant and crouched in a kraal in Jaipur as she was mercilessly “beaten” by a mahout.

And recently, Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, sent a letter on behalf of PETA calling on the Tourism Ministry to support a ban on cruel elephant rides. The actor starred in The Darjeeling Limited, which was shot mostly in Rajasthan near Amber Fort where elephants are abused for rides. In June, shocked tourists contacted PETA after witnessing an elephant being beaten by handlers during a tour of Amber Fort.

Captive elephants in Jaipur who are forced to give rides to tourists are cruelly treated and suffer from physical and mental distress. An extensive inspection of conditions for captive elephants in Jaipur – conducted by a team authorised by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), which included experienced veterinarians and animal-welfare experts from PETA India, Animal Rahat, Wildlife SOS, and the Centre for Studies on Elephants at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Kerala – revealed rampant and widespread abuse of elephants used for rides and other tourist activities, in apparent violation of animal-protection laws.

The inspectors found partially blind elephants forced to work, use of banned ankus (rods with a sharp metal hook on one end), use of chains and hobbles with sharp spikes, mutilation of elephants’ ears and tusks, elephants kept chained for long periods, and a lack of space. Denied the opportunity to engage in natural forms of behaviour, such as roaming freely and socialising, elephants rocked repeatedly back and forth.

Check out the AWBI-authorised team’s findings:

More than 100 travel companies – including global operators such as TripAdvisor, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Travel, and TUI Group – have committed to refusing to offer activities that exploit elephants.

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