STRICT ACTION must be taken to stop ELEPHANT HEAD LIFTING COMPETITIONS during festival season in Kerala.
Once again, festival season is here in the State of Kerala. This is a period of additional cruelty toward captive elephants. Captive elephants in Kerala suffer more torture and abuse than in any other state in India. The majority of captive elephants in Kerala are under the control of temples, private elephant owners, and those who take elephants on lease. They try to involve their elephants continuously in festival programmes without giving sufficient rest, water or food. The basic necessities, which are strictly mentioned in Kerala's Rules for Captive Elephants are denied. The elephant owners, temple authorities and elephant brokers make sufficient profit exploiting these sentient beings. They are regarded as nothing more than a business investment.
As a result of their captivity, elephants may become aggressive. This reacton is exposed by the media as an elephant attack. Media bias places the elephant at blame when in fact, they are the victim.
The Elephant Head Lifting Competition is another form of abuse in Kerala. Although this practice is discouraged, as stated in the Captive Elephant Protection & Welfare Act, this form of torture and cruelty is still a highlight at the festival celebratIons in Kollam, Kottayam, Trissur, Palakkad, Kozhikkod, Pathanamthitta, Athiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, and Eranakulam districts in Kerala. This law has never been enforced. The elephants who participate, must keep their heads elevated for long periods of time, sometimes hours. The mahouts will use sharp objects, such as a knife or bull hook to keep the head in an elevated position. The one who maintains the longest period of time with the lifted head, is deemed the winner.
We are hereby requesting the Kerala Government and all authorities concerned to please take the necessary action to eliminate this cruel form of entertainment by strictly enforcing the Law with a fine and imprisonment.