PETA Founder to be ‘Beaten’ in Appeal to Ban Elephant Rides


For Immediate Release:

13 December 2017


Ayushi Sharma; [email protected]

Shambhavi Tiwari; [email protected]

Tourists, Including Hollywood Legend Anjelica Huston, Say Amber Fort Visitors’ Trips Ruined by Sad Sight

Jaipur – To call for a ban on cruel elephant rides – and to shine a spotlight on the suffering that young elephants endure during their “training” and throughout the rest of their miserable lives – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) founder Ingrid Newkirk will wear a grey costume to resemble an elephant and crouch in a kraal in Jaipur on Thursday as she is mercilessly “beaten” by a mahout.

When: Thursday, 14 December, 12 noon

Where: Gandhi Circle, Jaipur, Rajasthan

“Tearing baby elephants from their families, beating them into submission, and forcing them to carry humans on their backs day in and day out is indefensibly cruel,” says Newkirk. “Kind tourists are turning their backs on this abuse, and PETA is urging the government to adapt to the times, nix the rides, and let elephants live in peace.”

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

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that it’s standard practice for mahouts to beat and jab elephants with iron-tipped wooden sticks, spiked chains, and ankuses (in violation of the directives of the Rajasthan High Court) and even to pierce their sensitive ears and drill holes into their tusks. While elephants in nature travel as far as 50 kilometres per day, those in captivity often endure foot problems and arthritis because of long periods spent chained on hard surfaces. Many suffer from malnutrition or dehydration or die prematurely, and even animals who are visually impaired or injured are forced to carry tourists under the blazing sun.

More than 100 travel agencies – 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 by several men in Jaipur.

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