PETA Releases Findings Of Investigation Into Barbaric Elephant Training In Nepal

For Immediate Release:

24 August 2011


Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Himani Shetty; [email protected]

In Lead-Up to Ganesh Chaturthi, Group Goes Public With Evidence of How Babies Are Cruelly Trained to Give Rides

Mumbai – As the Ganesh Chaturthi festival approaches, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India is releasing video footage and photographs taken during an undercover investigation that shows how baby elephants in Nepal are taken from their mothers, chained and hit and brushed with flames so that they can be forced to give rides to people. Baby elephants are taken away from their mothers when they are just 2 years old. They are tied up a few metres away from their mothers, who are also immobilised by chains. The babies cry and frantically struggle to reach their mothers for several days before losing hope. At age 3, the cruel training begins.

“This barbaric abuse shows the high and indefensible price paid by elephants used for entertainment”, says PETA India Chief Functionary Poorva Joshipura. “The only way that this cruelty will stop is when tourists and members of the public refuse to take elephant rides or pay for any performances by elephants.”

Elephant calves are shackled and tied tightly to poles, often for hours at a time. They are then hit, prodded with sticks and subjected to loud noises. They have flaming torches thrust against their faces and bodies. Trainers repeatedly brush the calves’ faces, trunks, legs and bodies with the fire, causing painful burns and sparks that fly into their eyes. Heavy chains and restrainers with iron nails are used to restrict the calves’ movement, often puncturing their flesh. Hooks are usually pierced through the elephants’ sensitive ears, and riders yank on the hooks to steer the animals. Open wounds are commonly visible on the elephants’ foreheads from sustained beatings with sticks. If the elephants attempt to retreat from frightening situations, they are beaten on the head.

Abuse of elephants used to give rides and forced to perform in other ways doesn’t occur just in Nepal. PETA India’s US affiliate obtained video footage of trainers in Thailand who repeatedly gouged the flesh of baby elephants with ankuses until the immobilised animals bled profusely and screamed out in pain. (See the video here.) Baby elephants in India are also torn away from their mothers and beaten into submission with ankuses to train them to give rides.

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