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Water(melon) for Elephants

Written by PETA | July 23, 2010

Ram Prasad spends his days chained by all four legs on a concrete platform at a temple near Sangli, India. Like other temple elephants in India, he is essentially a moneymaker, used to encourage devotees to donate money and gifts. Years of being kept virtually immobilized have caused Ram’s back legs to atrophy, and he has developed a painful foot infection as a result of being forced to stand day in and day out on a hard surface (such foot problems are common in captive elephants—and are the number one cause of elephant deaths in American zoos and circuses).

When veterinary staff with Animal Rahat, a PETA-supported relief program for working animals in India, discovered Ram, he was also suffering from a huge, gaping abscess on his side. Animal Rahat is working with Ram’s caretakers to allow the veterinarians to treat him and has also persuaded them to make other improvements in his care.


Ahhhh! Ram soaks his aching feet in a medicated bath.

Ram’s left ear is missing because of an “accident.”

Ram stands patiently as his abscess is flushed out and packed with antiseptic gauze.

All done! Time for a watermelon snack.

Ram goes for his first walk in five months.

… and cools down with a refreshing bath.

Ram is just one of thousands of animals whose lives have been made better by Animal Rahat. Find out more about this lifesaving work here.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Phyllis DiLossi says:

    I just saw the movie water for elephants I only went because I was lead to believe it was an animal rights movie. It did show how a particular elephant was horribly abused but in my opinion gave the impression that it was an isolated incident. It also mentioned Ringling Brothers and also gave the impression that they are caring for their animals. As I was leaving the movie I made certain everyone near me knew that was not true.

  • Victoria says:

    I agree with David Edwards. I just went to see Water for Elephants, and wasn’t expecting the elephant to be the victim of animal abuse. I don’t want to see that and I certainly don’t think anyone should see that. There was no indication that there would be animal cruelty. I can understand animals being put down because of an illness, but the elephant was PHYSICALLY abused with a bull hook.

  • david edwards says:

    I don’t know if I’m contacting the right place, if not,direct me.The film ‘Water for Elephants’should be attacked.The elephant was provided by,HTWT,enough publicity would ruin it,especially in view of the recent,affair of the roberts super circus elephant,which has effectively put him out of business

  • PETA staff says:

    To Rev Schramm. Sadly elephants and cows and monkeys in India while sometimes treated well are gods in name only most of the time. They are often very badly treated indeed. For example for religious reasons cows cannot be slaughtered in many Indian states but that just means they go on a journey through hell in the heat and dust to a state far away where they will be slaughtered the endure as PETA documented truly horrendous travel conditions and truly horrific slaughter ones too. There is little meat on their bones but their hide ends up in the US and Europe as couches bags and belts. Yes Ganesh is the elephant god and that is why devotees come and make offerings to Ram Prasad but don’t realize that he is suffering terribly. We want temple statues not temple elephants but meanwhile we do what we can for Ram Prasad and other animals who are abused even though Lord Krishna paintings and text showed that he loved them all.

  • Andrea says:

    So does this mean he doesn’t have to be chained up all the time now? You’re right I would think a symbol of a God would be treated like a God.

  • James says:

    Gratitude to Animal Rahat for their work on behalf of this elephant and other animals in India. Jai Jai Ganesha!!!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Thank you Animal Rahat for helping Ram Prasad. Now being a Christian and not totally familiar with Hindu beliefs I ask if Ram is supposed to be a representation of Ganesha I may have misspelled the name the Hindu god with the head of an elephant? If so the temple staff needs to take better care of him…in front of Christian churches I have seen plaster statues of saints and Jesus that get better care than that poor living breathing feeling elephant. Ask the staff if they would allow Ganesha himself to be chained for months in front of his own temple immobilized to the point his legs atrophy and his feet are infected…and what happened to his ear? Accident my eye. The living representative of the god Ganesha needs to be treated with love and respect.