Central Government Agency To Rajasthan: Planned Activities At Jaipur’s Elephant Festival Are Illegal

For Immediate Release:
22 March 2013

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

State Government Receives Advisory From Animal Welfare Board of India Declaring Use of Elephants Is a Violation of Animal-Protection Laws

Jaipur, Rajasthan – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has fired off an urgent letter to Rakesh Srivastava, principal secretary and commissioner of tourism for Rajasthan; Randeep Dhankhar, chair of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and other state government officials urging them immediately to cancel plans for an elephant polo match and other events involving elephants scheduled for 26 March in Jaipur. In the letter, PETA points out that according to the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules as set down in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – and as stated in an 11 March advisory sent to RTDC by the statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) – the planned events are illegal because the elephants are not registered as required by law. Furthermore, the RTDC has not furnished the AWBI with legally required certificates proving ownership of the elephants.

“The elephant polo matches, elephant races and other events planned for the festival are not only illegal but also cruel”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “These animals are trained through beatings, kept shackled in chains when they’re not being forced to perform and denied everything that’s natural and important to them.”

Although it is illegal to beat and torture animals under the law, 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 letter and the AWBI’s advisory to Rajasthan officials are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.