Chained and Abused ‘Elephants’ to Call For End to Elephant Performances in Mysore

For Immediate Release:

8 August 2017


Radhika Suryavanshi; [email protected]

Garima Jain; [email protected]

In Honour of World Elephant Day, PETA Will Call for an End to the Cruel Enslavement of Elephants

Mysore – Wearing elephant masks, chains, and shackles and holding out the palms of their hands – painted blood-red– members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India will gather outside Mysore Palace on Thursday to call for an end to the use of elephants in performances, including circuses and processions, and for tourist rides. The action comes just days ahead of World Elephant Day (12 August).

When:             Thursday, 9 August, 12 noon sharp

Where:           In front of Balarama Gate, near Kote Anjaneya Temple, Mysore Palace Premises, Mysore City, Karnataka 570001

“Elephants are highly intelligent and carry humans on their backs or take part in processions only because they’re controlled through violence,” says PETA’s Radhika Suryavanshi. “As more and more members of the public recognise this, they want nothing to do with the spirit-crushing training, exhibition, enslavement, and use of elephants for performances.”

Even though elephants are protected under Schedule I of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and have been declared a national heritage animal by the central government, they’re excluded from the list of animals banned from performances under Section 22 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The country’s existing animal-protection laws prohibit any cruel training, exhibition, or use of elephants for performances that require them to engage in types of behaviour that aren’t natural for elephants, and they require that the Forest Department seize elephants whose housing, upkeep, and maintenance are inadequate– but these laws are often ignored. Elephants continue to be used in the Mysore Dasara festival, at which they’re made to endure rowdy crowds and loud noises that they likely find terrifying, such as cannon shots and a gun salute.

Cruelty is inherent whenever wild animals such as elephants are trained to give rides or take part in processions or other events. Their spirits are broken through routine beatings in order to make them obey human commands, they’re kept chained when not performing, they’re exhibited in chaotic environments, and they’re forced to performing confusing tricks under the threat of violence. Elephants have often reacted to this abuse by hurting or killing humans. According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, between 2001 and 2016, captive elephants killed more than 526 people in Kerala. They may also be infected with tuberculosis, which can spread to humans who come into contact with them.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that while elephants in nature travel as far as 50 kilometres per day, those in captivity often suffer from foot problems and arthritis because of long periods spent chained on hard surfaces. Many suffer from malnutrition or dehydration or die prematurely.

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