For Immediate Release:
21 September 2020
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Monica Chopra; [email protected]
Group Urges Rajasthan Government to Test All Captive Elephants in Region for Tuberculosis
Jaipur – After the recent deaths of four elephants who were used for tourist rides in Jaipur, PETA India has fired off a letter to the chief secretary of Rajasthan, Rajeeva Swarup, requesting that he order a probe. Two of these elephants (numbers 99 and 64 – Rani and Chanchal, respectively) had tested reactive for tuberculosis (TB) in 2018 during an inspection by the government body Animal Welfare Board of India but were questionably declared TB-free later by the Rajasthan Forest Department. PETA India has made multiple requests to the forest department to test all elephants in Jaipur for TB and to quarantine and treat those who are sick. In its letter, PETA India also advised that the forest department implement a policy prohibiting the entry of any new elephants into the state.
A copy of PETA India’s letter to the chief secretary is available for download upon request.
“Just as the Rajasthan government has taken steps to address the health-care challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it must protect the public from another deadly zoonotic disease – tuberculosis. It’s high time the government implemented a policy decision to end dangerous elephant rides,” says PETA India Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta. TB can spread from elephants to humans, just as COVID-19 is thought to have first jumped the species barrier through wildlife.
In 2008, the Ministry of Defence decided to prohibit the use of elephants during Republic Day parades, concluding that there are serious safety concerns, since frustrated elephants may become violent – and that uncertainties exist regarding the legality of their ownership. In 2014, in order to protect elephants and the public, the Maharashtra Forest Department banned their entry into municipal corporation areas of the state.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.