‘Elephants’ in Modi Jackets and Kurtas to Urge Tourism Ministry to Say ‘No’ to Rides

For Immediate Release:

5 December 2017



Ayushi Sharma; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

PETA India Members Will Call for Elephant Protection Ahead of Ministry Meeting

New Delhi – While PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk plans to deliver a letter on behalf of tourists to the Ministry of Tourism later this week, PETA supporters will lead a spirited demonstration at Rajiv Chowk metro station wearing elephant masks, Modi jackets, and white kurtas while holding briefcases reading, “Tourism Ministry: Say NO to Elephant Rides.” Their aim is to encourage the Minister of Tourism to recognise that more and more tourists and travel agencies refuse to support cruel elephant rides, which cause animals to suffer, and to ask him to support a ban on them.

When: Wednesday, 6 December, 12 noon

Where: Rajiv Chowk metro station, gate 6, Palika Bazar, Connaught Place, New Delhi

“Elephants are highly intelligent and only carry humans on their backs because they’ve been physically wounded and psychologically traumatized by violent beatings,” says Newkirk. “We are letting the Ministry of Tourism know tourists do not support the spirit-crushing training, exhibition, and use of elephants for rides in India.”

Recently, motivated by a viral photograph showing a mother Indian elephant and her baby desperately trying to outrun flaming projectiles being thrown at them by a mob, Academy Award winner and star of The Darjeeling Limited Anjelica Huston sent a letter on behalf of PETA calling on the Ministry to support a ban on cruel elephant rides. The Darjeeling Limited was shot mostly in Rajasthan – a state where numerous elephants are used for rides, including around Amber Fort.

An Animal Welfare Board of India study highlights substantial evidence that cruelty is inherent when wild animals such as elephants are violently trained to be used for rides and other performances. Their spirits are broken in order to make them obey human commands, they’re kept chained when not used, and they’re exhibited in crowded, noisy, and unnatural environments. The report also draws attention to the increasing number of incidents in which elephants have reacted to abuse and have hurt or killed many humans – as well as the prevalence of zoonotic diseases such as tuberculosis in captive elephants, which can spread to humans. According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, between 2001 and 2016, captive elephants killed more than 526 people in Kerala.

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, 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, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Travel, and TUI Group – have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants, and in June, a group of American tourists contacted PETA after witnessing an elephant used for rides being violently beaten in Jaipur.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.