Elephant fed with firecracker needs justice and calls for an animal protection law reform

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The incident of the pregnant elephant who was fed a pineapple stuffed with a firecracker (fireworks) brings to light the wider situation of hundreds of exploited and abused elephants in Kerala. According to the autopsy report, the mother who died from this incident was fed the firecracker around 20 days prior to her death. The elephant was found in the river drinking water to perhaps soothe her pain from her wounds and died shortly after. She never disturbed the village or the villagers. This is sadly not the only case of heinous acts of cruelty towards elephants in this state and India. Firecrackers are stuffed in fruit to also control wild boars in Kerala and elsewhere.

Elephants are used widely in hundreds of festivals and temples in India, especially in Kerala. Torturing and exploiting elephants is not part of Hindu religion, however this happens regularly. People in India pray to Lord Ganesh (the elephant god). During the frequent religious festivals, elephants are dressed with heavy ornamentation and forced to work amidst the chaotic mass of people with loud noise and fireworks, depriving them of food and water. This is hypocrisy to pray to Lord Ganesh and abuse the animal that is seen as Lord Ganesh himself. These gentle creatures are commonly abused by their mahouts (caretakers). Scientists have reported elephants dying prematurely as a result of their longstanding abuse. There are also several accidental and deliberate incidents of firecrackers harming elephants and other animals in the country.

Elephants are one of the most intelligent, social and gentle creatures on earth. No being should undergo such obscene and overt acts of cruelty. This petition is demanding stringent penalties to those involved in this wildlife crime and a law reform with proper enforcement of wildlife criminal activity.

We are asking for:

  • Prosecuting the offender with a severe penalty for the murder of the elephant
  • Ban the use of elephants in festivals and temples
  • Ban the use of firecrackers
  • The Government to provide the necessary resources for the forest officials to carry out their tasks
  • Address the human wildlife-conflict with humane methods and educate villagers and marginalised farmers with humane methods of controlling animals that are problematic for them
  • Acts of animal cruelty such as this to be penalised with harsh jail sentences and hefty fines of at least 750,000 lakhs rupee or 10,000 US dollars to deter offenders from committing these crimes
  • Tourists to be encouraged not to attend festivals or visit temples that exploit elephants