Supreme Court Accepts PETA India Intervention Application for Elephant-Ride Ban at Amer Fort

For Immediate Release:

11 January 2019


Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Group Points Out Apparently Illegal Treatment of Unregistered Elephants

New Delhi – Today, the Honourable Supreme Court of India permitted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India to intervene in a matter in which it aims to seek an end to apparently illegal elephant rides at Amer Fort and the use of elephants at Elephant Village (Hathigaon) in Jaipur. The group was represented by senior advocate Ms Meenakshi Arora. The matter will next be heard on 12 February 2019.

PETA India’s application 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 application, 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.

“Blind and sick elephants are forced to haul 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, some of whom have tested reactive for TB, 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.”

As is also stated in the application, 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 application 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 apparently illegal use of elephants for rides should therefore be eliminated entirely.

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, Intrepid Travel, smarTours, STA Travel, Thomas Cook, and World Spree Travel – have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants.

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