Jaipur: PETA India Launches Billboard Campaign against Elephant Rides

For Immediate Release:

21 August 2018


Garima Jain; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Graphic Ad Showing Elephant Beaten at Amer Fort Urges Tourists to Steer Clear of Cruel Elephant Rides

Jaipur – “Shackled, Beaten, and Abused. Be a Compassionate Traveller: Say No to Elephant Rides” – that’s the message on a brand-new People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India billboard featuring an elephant who was beaten continuously for 10 minutes by handlers, as witnessed by a group of American tourists at Amer Fort. The incident prompted Bollywood actor Sonakshi Sinha to write a letter on PETA India’s behalf calling on authorities to relocate the animal to a rehabilitation facility for urgent care. Instead, the abused elephant continues to be used for rides. The billboard is now up at the railway station flyover in Jaipur, and more will be erected.

“The heart-wrenching image of a suffering captive elephant being viciously beaten by a group of men should be enough to persuade any compassionate person never to sling a leg over an elephant’s back,” says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India’s billboard is the latest step in our work to shut down the archaic and cruel elephant ride industry at Amer Fort.”

The billboard follows the release in April of a damning report that revealed shocking cruelty to elephants used for rides at Amer Fort and Elephant Village (Hathigaon), which prompted PETA India to file a petition before the Jaipur Bench of the High Court of Rajasthan seeking to end illegal elephant rides at both locations. According to the report, among the 102 working elephants examined at Amer Fort, many were found to be more than 50 years old. Ten tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis (TB), which can be transmitted to humans, and 19 were observed to be visually impaired, rendering them unfit to give rides because of the danger posed to both themselves and the public. All were found to be suffering from various foot problems, including overgrown toenails and bruised footpads, and many displayed stereotypical behaviour patterns, such as repetitive swaying and head-bobbing, indicating severe psychological distress. Additionally, the tusks of 47 elephants appeared to have been cut, in apparent violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, raising suspicion that the ivory may have entered the illegal wildlife trade. And all of those examined were seen carrying loads heavier than 200 kilograms, which is the legal maximum for these animals on hilly terrain. The post-mortem reports for four elephants who died within a period of five months in 2017 indicate that most had been suffering from respiratory diseases – possibly TB – and a heavy internal parasitic load.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – notes that just last year, a captive elephant used in Kerala’s tourism industry was beaten so badly that the animal’s leg broke.

More than 100 travel agencies – including global operators such as TripAdvisor, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Travel, smarTours, STA Travel, and TUI Group – have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.