For Immeidate Release:
13 December 2021
Khushboo Gupta [email protected]
Monica Chopra [email protected]
Bhopal – Through an office order issued on Friday, Alok Kumar, Madhya Pradesh’s principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), has entrusted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India with the responsibility of ensuring that India’s skinniest elephant, Lakshmi, receives much-needed veterinary treatment, food, water, and other essential care. She is currently housed at the forest department’s premises in Bada Malhera in Chhatarpur district. The order directs forest officials to work with the group to ensure that Lakshmi receives immediate care. She had been found emaciated and in pain while forced to beg on the streets of Chhatarpur.
The decision came after PETA India called for urgent intervention by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, the government body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
A copy of the order issued by Kumar is available for download upon request.
“We thank the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department for initiating work to help Lakshmi and allowing us to contribute,” says PETA India Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta. “Lakshmi has known only cruelty, misery, and neglect. We are hoping that soon, Lakshmi will be able to roam, bathe in ponds, and be in the company of other elephants. We call on the support of all kind people in this important matter.”
Examinations by veterinarians from the forest department and PETA India concluded that Lakshmi is suffering from chronic arthritis and joint deformities, is in agonising pain, and is experiencing debility caused by long-term deprivation of food and water. She is currently receiving treatment for joint pain, and abscesses on her hips and wounds on the pinna of her left ear are being routinely cleaned and dressed. The injuries were likely caused by an ankus, an iron rod with a hook on one end. Lakshmi was rescued by local activists and PETA India volunteers on 1 December.
As revealed by many AWBI inspections and the reports of state forest departments, most elephants in the country are being held illegally, since their custody has been transferred without necessary approval from forest departments or they’ve been transported to a different state without permission.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA India, please visit PETAIndia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.