Animal Welfare Board Warn: Elephant Parade During Thrissur Pooram is Illegal

For Immediate Release:
22 April 2015

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

PETA Tip Prompts Action for More Than 30 Abused Elephants

Thrissur – After receiving a tip from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) – a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) – rushed a letter to Kerala officials this week asking them to halt the planned elephant parade slated for Thrissur Pooram on 29 April. As the AWBI point out in their letter, the event – which would involve about 30 elephants – cannot go forward without their permission, which has neither been applied for nor given. This means that district and state authorities cannot approve the parade, as doing so would be a violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, as set down in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Additionally, the AWBI have not been furnished with the legally required certificates proving the ownership of the elephants. The letter also points out that on 23 June, 2008, the government of Kerala had issued a directive to Devaswom boards mandating that elephants be registered with the AWBI. The board had previously written to the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Minister and Chief Wildlife Warden stating that no elephants shall be paraded or used in poorams without first being registered with the AWBI.

According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants have killed 526 people within 15 years in Kerala alone. PETA also point out that the Confederation of Tamilnadu Malayalee Associations (CTMA) have recreated the spirit of Onam and Thrissur Pooram in Chennai by using many life-sized imitation elephants made of plaster of Paris and papier-mâché and suggest that the organisers of Thrissur Pooram consider such humane alternatives instead of using live elephants to celebrate the occasion.

“Elephants used for such events are kept chained when they are not forced to work, spend their lives standing on concrete, have been trained through beatings and are denied everything that is natural and important to them”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “When such elephants are forced to walk on hot pavement and participate in loud, frightening public events under the threat of physical punishment, they often retaliate, putting human lives at risk. PETA India support the Animal Welfare Board of India in calling on state officials to do the right thing for elephants by cancelling this cruel and illegal event.”

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 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.

PETA India’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”. The AWBI’s and PETA’s letter to Kerala officials is available upon request. For more information, please visit