63,000 People Join PETA President in Calling for Ban on Elephant Rides in India

Indian Minister of Tourism Expresses Concern, Pledges Action During Meeting With Ingrid Newkirk About Captive Elephant Exploitation

For Immediate Release:
December 8, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Delhi, India

Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India founder Ingrid Newkirk met with India’s union minister of tourism, K.J. Alphons, and delivered more than 63,000 signatures from people around the globe requesting a ban on elephant rides. The digitally signed appeals followed a video that emerged last week of an elephant used in the tourist trade being beaten so hard that his leg broke, as did the canes used for the beating. Earlier this week, PETA India supporters wearing elephant masks and Modi jackets held a spirited protest in support of a ban in New Delhi.

During the meeting, Minister Alphons expressed his deep concern for the plight of elephants, watched the video in horror, replayed it, and vowed to take steps to prevent cruelty to these intelligent, sensitive, and social animals by issuing an advisory to state governments and union territories.

“Tourists would rather take home photographs of elephants living in nature than memories of a trip ruined by the sight of beaten and broken animals,” says Newkirk. “PETA is committed to supporting the minister as he makes good on his pledge to help the elephants who are used and abused for archaic rides and performances in the tourism industry.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any way”—notes that an Animal Welfare Board of India report highlights substantial evidence of cruelty when wild animals such as elephants are violently trained to be used for rides and other performances. Their spirits are broken in order to make them obey human commands, they’re kept chained when they’re not being used, and they’re exhibited in crowded, noisy environments. Many suffer from malnutrition or dehydration and die prematurely. The report also points to many incidents in which elephants have reacted to abuse by hurting or killing humans—as well as the prevalence of tuberculosis in captive elephants, which can spread to humans.

More than 100 travel companies—including global operators such as TripAdvisor, The Travel Corporation, and TUI Group—have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants. In June, a group of American tourists contacted PETA after witnessing an elephant used for rides being violently beaten in Jaipur, which spurred Academy Award–winner Anjelica Huston to write to the Ministry of Tourism on PETA India’s behalf in support of a ban.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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