For Immediate Release:
11 October 2018
Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]
In Its Public Interest Litigation, the Group Pointed Out That Elephants Used for Rides Aren’t Registered and Are Forced to Carry Loads Heavier Than the Legal Limits
Jaipur – Today, while hearing a petition filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India before the Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court seeking to end elephant rides at Amer Fort and the use of elephants at Elephant Village (Hathigaon) in Jaipur, the Rajasthan High Court permitted PETA India to approach the Supreme Court in a similar matter that is pending before the apex court. PETA India was represented by Senior Advocate Mr Ajeet Kumar Sharma.
PETA India’s petition followed a report by inspectors authorised by the government’s Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), who found that the elephants used for rides at Amer Fort included animals with a visual impairment or who tested reactive for tuberculosis (TB), which is transmissible to humans. In the petition, PETA India pointed out that these rides are apparently 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 mandating that any use of elephants in any type of performance – including rides – requires permission from the AWBI.
As is also stated in the petition, the 2018 AWBI inspection report reveals that the elephants at Amer Fort are 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.
“Blind and sick elephants are forced to haul illegal, backbreaking loads day in and day out, which is exactly why tourists are increasingly rejecting these rides and why they must be stopped immediately,” says PETA India Associate Director of Policy Nikunj Sharma. “Forcing abused elephants, including those who tested reactive for tuberculosis, to give rides endangers the lives of humans, too. PETA India is letting visitors know they can use golf carts that are available at Amer Fort instead of taking elephant rides.”
PETA India (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way) notes that more than 50 travel agencies – including global operators such as TripAdvisor, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Travel, smarTours, STA Travel, and TUI Group – have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.