For Immediate Release:
12 July 2018
Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Garima Jain; [email protected]
The Group Points Out That the Elephants Used for Rides Aren’t Registered With the Animal Welfare Board of India and Are Forced to Carry Loads Heavier Than the Legal Limits
Jaipur – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has filed a petition before the Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court seeking to end illegal elephant rides at Amer Fort and Elephant Village (Hathigaon) in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
PETA India’s petition follows a report by inspectors authorised by the government’s Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), who found that elephants were being used for rides at the historic sites despite suffering from blindness and even tuberculosis (TB), which is transmissible to humans.
In the petition, PETA India pointed out that these rides are illegal because none of the elephants used are registered with the AWBI, in apparent violation of The Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, framed under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the 2010 order of the Rajasthan government which mandates that any use of elephants in any film, serial, advertisement, function, sport, event, exhibition, mela, or other type of performance – including rides – requires permission from the AWBI. As stated in the petition, the 2018 AWBI inspection report reveals that the elephants at Amer Fort are being forced to carry loads heavier than 200 kilograms, which is the legal maximum for these animals on hilly terrain, as per the 2008 “Guidelines for Care and Management of Captive Elephants” issued by the central government. The petition further explained that the weight of a howdah – a seat used for riding on the back of an elephant – combined with the safety gear and one mahout alone is around 200 kilograms, so it’s unlikely that the total load weight including tourists could ever be reduced enough to fall below the legal maximum on the hilly terrain of Amer Fort. The use of elephants for rides should therefore be eliminated entirely.
“Under no circumstances should the cruel and illegal elephant rides at Amer Fort be allowed to continue,” says PETA India Senior Legal Associate Swati Sumbly. “PETA India’s petition seeks to end the shameful practice of forcing sick, elderly, and blind elephants to haul unjustifiably heavy loads through Jaipur.”
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – had sent legal notices to the Rajasthan Department of Archaeology & Museums and Forest Department in June 2018 asking them to stop illegal elephant rides, which are currently permitted by both departments at Amer Fort and Hathigaon. In response, PETA India received a letter from the Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology & Museums, who has forwarded a copy of the notice to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of Rajasthan stating that since the department requires a health certificate from the zoo and a No Objection Certificate from the CWLW before granting permission for rides, the CWLW should determine whether the elephant rides should be permitted. Following PETA India’s meetings with high-ranking officials in the Government of Rajasthan, the Forest Department recently sent a directive to the Department of Archaeology & Museums stating that TB-infected elephants should be quarantined and removed from public contact immediately. However, both departments failed to take any further action to stop the illegal rides, forcing PETA India to approach the court for relief.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.