Kerala Captive Elephant Plight Taken to High Court and Supreme Court

For Immediate Release:
28 April 2015

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

PETA India Lead Campaign to End Dangerous, Cruel Practices

Cochin —Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India filed a petition in the Kerala High Court to address the suffering of elephants in festivals such as Thrissur Pooram, while co-opted member of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) Gauri Maulekhi filed a case on the same issue in the Supreme Court. This move follows a directive by the AWBI stating that organisers should leave live elephants out of the upcoming Thrissur Pooram parade on 29 April because they have neither applied for nor obtained permission from the board, which is required by law before animals can be used in performances.

The Kerala High Court, which are operating on a vacation bench, did not issue an interim direction to prohibit the use of live elephants in Thrissur Pooram events, but they will be hearing the matter after court vacations.

“When laws regarding the use of elephants in performances are disregarded, the results often include grievous injuries or even death for human beings when the suffering elephants retaliate”, says PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura. According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants have killed 526 people in Kerala within the last 15 years alone.

Although it’s illegal to beat and torture animals, elephants forced to participate in parades are trained through physical punishment and the constant threat of being struck with a stick or an ankus (a weapon with a sharp metal hook on the end). 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, separated from their mothers as babies and transported to Kerala – something PETA India is working to stop.

The campaign to protect Kerala’s elephants by PETA has included a letter from long-time elephant friend and PETA US honorary director Pamela Anderson, who offered to purchase 30 faux elephants for the Thrissur Pooram parade to replace the use of live elephants.

The AWBI’s advisory against the use of live elephants at Thrissur Pooram followed a tip from PETA India, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”.

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