PETA India Calls for National Elephant Performance Ban, Citing Republic Day Parade Progress  

For Immediate Release:
24 January 2020


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]  

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]  

Defence Ministry Stopped Use of Captive Elephants During Parades Because of Concerns That Apply Everywhere They’re Used

New Delhi – Ahead of the Republic Day parades, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has sent a letter to Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh requesting that elephants be added to the list of wild animals banned from being exhibited or trained for performances in India. In 1998, the central government banned the use of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers, and lions as performing animals. However, elephants, although protected under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, are excluded from this list. 

In 2008, based on the recommendations of the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Zoological Park, New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence decided to prohibit the use of elephants during Republic Day parades. It concluded that there are serious safety concerns associated with the risk that frustrated elephants could become violent – and that uncertainties exist regarding the legality of their ownership. Consequently, since 2009, the central government has instead used decorated military jeeps to carry children who have won a National Bravery Award during the parades. In its letter to Mr Singh, PETA India points out that the same concerns are relevant to the use of elephants in circuses, for events, and for “joy rides”.

“The government of India has been honouring elephants in the best way possible by refusing to allow their use during Republic Day parades,” says PETA India CEO and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “It’s high time we unshackled these representations of Lord Ganesha and allowed them to live free, as nature intended. Banning their use in performances would bring us closer to that goal.” 

Based on a detailed study report that highlighted the suffering endured by captive elephants in India, in 2016, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a government advisory body, recommended that the central government ban the exhibition and training of elephants for performances. And in 2010, the government declared elephants a National Heritage Animal in order to strengthen measures to protect them. 

By conferring exercise of its powers under Section 22(ii) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying can issue a central notification in the official Gazette to ban the exhibition and training of elephants as performing animals. 

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit