Compassionate Star Supports Animal Welfare Board of India Decision to Ban Live Animals From Famous Festival in Kerala State
For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2015
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Thrisssur, India – In the wake of the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) determination that Kerala officials must leave live elephants out of the much-anticipated Thrissur Pooram parade, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India patron and PETA Honorary Director Pamela Anderson has written to the chief minister of Kerala, offering to pay to provide 30 life-sized faux elephants handcrafted from bamboo and papier-mâché instead. The realistic elephants would replace live elephants, whose use is coming under increasing scrutiny. In recent years, hundreds have run amok, killing spectators after being frightened by loud noises and having yellow powder thrown into their eyes. If Anderson’s offer is accepted, this year’s Thrissur Pooram would be the third such progressive parade using faux elephants ever held in the country of India.
“I’m sure you know that both Indian and international public opinion is turning solidly against the use of elephants in captivity,” writes Anderson. “I’d like to offer my support for what is a wonderful opportunity to make a stunning, humane spectacle that everyone would talk about and that would garner international praise.”
Although it’s illegal to beat and torture animals, elephants forced to participate in parades are trained through physical punishment and the constant threat of being struck with a stick or an ankus (a weapon with a sharp metal hook on the end). As Anderson notes, the use of captive elephants upsets visitors to Kerala: “Seeing elephants in chains and forced to walk on hot pavement under the threat of an ankush or other weapon makes people sad and can ruin their holiday.” Capturing an elephant is prohibited under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, yet many captive elephants are thought to have been captured illegally from the wild, separated from their mothers as babies, and transported to Kerala—something PETA India is working to stop.
The AWBI’s advisory against the use of live elephants at the Thrissur Pooram parade followed a tip from PETA India, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”