Rampant cruelty to elephants at Thrissur Pooram: PETAtext_fields
New Delhi: Animal rights body PETA Friday claimed that its investigation has revealed "rampant" cruelty to elephants during Thrissur Pooram, an annual temple festival held in Kerala.
"Reducing these representatives of Lord Ganapati to slaves in chains, training and exhibiting them under the threat of ankuses and other weapons, exposing them to loud fireworks and drumming and a crowd of thousands they would find frightening is cruelty.
"Today's findings reinforce those of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in 2015 and 2016 that these elephants are abused. Abused animals cannot bless, they can only curse," said Manilal Valliyate, the PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs and member of the Kerala State Animal Welfare Board.
Thrissur Pooram is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram day -- the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that its investigation revealed that elephants with open wounds, painful abscesses, cracked nails, impaired vision and suffering from lameness were paraded.
At many places, the animal rights body said, there was no access to drinking water and some elephants were made to walk and stand on hot tar road with no shade.
PETA said that in its April 18, 2015 order, the Supreme Court had stated that if any owner, organiser, or festival or temple coordination committee treated elephants cruelly, the offender would be held liable for contempt.
The Kerala High Court, in its April 14, 2016 order, had directed that "[n]o elephant which is found unfit to participate in the ceremonial parade shall be utilised and the District Magistrate will ensure that use of any such animal is clearly excluded", PETA said.
PETA also called for elephants used in processions be required to be registered with the AWBI as performing animals.