Tuesday, April 5, 2016

HC orders steps to prevent abuse of ‘festival elephants’

KOCHI: Kerala high court has ordered Animal Welfare department to take strict steps to ensure the safety of elephants used in festivals and avoid accidents arising out of the exhibition and parading of poor beings. Even if the number of elephants made to participate in a festival function is beyond five, the organisers of festival should seek the prior permission of District animal welfare board officials.

A list of persons who are able to tame, calm down and chain the elephant should be prepared and their service should be made available in case of necessity.

The interim order was issued by Chief Justice Ashok in response to a petition filed by Ernakulam native Meera Krishnan, seeking protection and maintenance of captive elephants.

The government was also asked to file an affidavit on the steps taken by it to ensure the protection and maintenance of captive elephants  

According to the present norms, if more than five elephants are roped in for a festival, the presence of a veterinary surgeon should be ensured and prior permission should also be obtained.

But the petitioner pointed out that reducing the number of elephants in a festival doesn’t bring down the associated risks. Elephant-related tragic incidents occurs in the State mostly when a single elephant is paraded. And, the government has not placed any restrictions in the case of festivals where one elephant is used.

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