For Immediate Release:
5 March 2020
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]
Group Calls On Rajasthan Chief Minister to Stop Rides
Jaipur – A day before the Supreme Court will hear the matter regarding cruel and apparently illegal use of captive elephants in India, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off a letter to Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, urging him to stop elephant rides at Amer Fort and Elephant Village (Hathigaon) because of the potential risk for tourists and others to contract tuberculosis (TB) from elephants. The group‘s action follows evidence that inadequately tested elephants and those not tested at all have been used for rides, even though some elephants previously tested reactive for TB and received insufficient treatment – and an inadequate prevention and control protocol followed.
A copy of PETA India‘s letter to the Chief Minister is available upon request
The group has submitted evidence to the Chief Minister‘s office that the Rajasthan Forest Department (RFD) used TB test kits that weren’t specific to elephants, not meant for diagnostic purpose and not approved by any regulatory body and recklessly declared that seven out of the 10 elephants initially found reactive for TB in 2018 by the government body Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) were TB-free. Unlike the RFD, the AWBI had used kits approved for the purpose by the US Department of Agriculture. Two elephants who still tested reactive for TB even with the inadequate RFD kit were miraculously declared TB-free within two or three months of detection, indicating that the standard treatment protocol (which usually takes at least six months) was not followed. One elephant out of the 10 who tested reactive for TB in the AWBI’s test died before any action could be taken. And while only those 10 were tested for TB by the RFD, 134 elephants are used for rides at Amer Fort and only 91 of them were presented for testing to the AWBI, leaving 32% of them totally untested.
In the letter, PETA India also pointed out that elephant rides in Jaipur are apparently illegal as per a response received under the Right to Information Act, 2005, which states that 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 mandating that the AWBI must give permission for any use of elephants in any type of performance – including rides.
“The only way to protect tourists and the general public from TB is to stop the use of elephants for rides and to prevent humans from coming into direct contact with them,“ says PETA India CEO and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India appeals to the Rajasthan government to protect travellers as well as the sick, suffering elephants who are being denied much-needed veterinary care, putting everyone at risk.“
A 2018 AWBI report revealed shocking cruelty to elephants used for rides in Jaipur and prompted PETA India to intervene in the matter before the Supreme Court. This report also states that the post-mortem reports for four elephants who died within a period of five months in 2017 indicate that all had been suffering from respiratory diseases – possibly TB.
TB in elephants is a zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is typically treated with a multi-drug regimen for six to 12 months after the affected animals are quarantined. As the report “2017 Recommendations for the Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management of Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in Elephants in Human Care“ recommends a minimum of six months‘ time for effectively treating an elephant with TB, the “nonreactive“ results declared by the RFD regarding the two elephant first found reactive are very questionable.
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 PETAIndia.com.