Following PETA Complaint, Jaipur Police Register FIR Against Elephant Abusers

For Immediate Release:

30 June 2017


Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Shambhavi Tiwari; [email protected]

Shocked American Tourists Contacted PETA After Witnessing an Elephant Used for Rides Being Beaten by Handlers

Jaipur – Following a complaint filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India at the Amer station, the Jaipur police registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified men under Sections 429 and 289 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for ill-treating an elephant and putting public safety at risk. In its complaint, PETA stated that approximately eight men ran out with sticks and an iron ankus – a torture device which is restricted from use by the Honourable Rajasthan High Court – and encircled the elephant, who had tried to escape from being forced to give rides in the extreme heat on burning-hot concrete. The men reportedly violently kicked and beat the helpless animal from all sides for more than 10 minutes and continued doing so even after the elephant had stopped trying to escape. The tourists who witnessed the ill-treatment wrote to PETA, asking the group to take action against this cruelty.

Apart from the sections under the IPC, PETA’s complaint also specified apparent violations of sections under major animal-protection laws – namely, The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960; and The Performing Animals (Registration) Rules (PARR), 2001, as well as the order of the Rajasthan High Court restricting the use of iron ankus weapons and the Rajasthan government circular mandating that elephants used for performances and rides be registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

In its complaint to Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., which permits and promotes elephant rides, PETA urged the company to put an end to the rides, as they are apparently illegal. The complaint referred to the orders dated 9 December 2014 and 28 September 2015 of the Honourable High Court of Kerala, which mandated that, elephants used for rides in locations where the public is admitted by sale of tickets must be registered under PARR, 2001. The complaint noted that the elephants used for rides at Amber Fort and other locations in Rajasthan are not registered as per the mandate of these court orders.

“Forcing an elephant to give rides through the use of weapons and in the searing heat is cruel but common at Amber Fort,” says PETA CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA is calling for the perpetrators to be punished and is calling on the Rajasthan government to end elephant rides in Amber Fort and elsewhere in Rajasthan. Mechanised, eco-friendly safari vehicles can be used instead.”

Captive elephants forced to give rides to tourists are cruelly treated and suffer from physical and mental distress. A 2014 inspection of conditions for captive elephants in Jaipur – conducted by a team authorised by the AWBI, which included experienced veterinarians and animal-welfare experts from PETA India – revealed rampant and widespread abuse of elephants used for rides and other tourist activities, in apparent violation of animal-protection laws, including the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and the PCA Act, 1960.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that elephants in nature live in matriarchal herds and are active for 18 hours per day, foraging for fresh vegetation, playing, bathing in rivers, and travelling as far as 50 kilometres. Elephants in captivity are denied the opportunity to have control over their own lives and to roam vast distances and often suffer from foot problems and arthritis because of long periods spent standing on hard surfaces. They can develop neurotic forms of behaviour, and many suffer from malnutrition or dehydration or die prematurely.

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