New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO), World Animal Protection India and Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC) appreciated the decision of retiring 20 ailing elephants from rides at Amer Fort in Jaipur. These organisations protect the rights and interests of animals at the local and national level.
The decision was made by the forest department of Rajasthan. Following veterinary inspections of the elephants in July 2020, the department declared that on medical and moral grounds, the sickest and unfit animals should no longer be used for entertainment purposes, which is a progressive step forward.
The Amer Fort is an attractive and frequently visited place by tourists. During the pandemic, the elephants were forced to carry tourists up and down the steep paved floors to the fort. Normal people cannot even walk in during this hot and unpleasant journey multiple times a day while the elephants were forced to carry tourists multiple times a day.
If a normal human being walks so much in this drastic hot climatic condition, they are at least back to their comfort houses but these elephants were kept in severely inadequate conditions and were controlled using bullhooks. However, animal welfare groups were putting pressure on the local authorities to retire the elephants at the venue, the reason not only involved cruelty but also many are in dire need of medical help.
The matter of torture to the elephants in captivity at Hathi Gaon was also raised in the year 2018 in which the court of the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate ordered the Amber Police to investigate. According to reports, it was noticed that approximately 103 elephants had open wounds and scars, were chained when not working, and were not given adequate food and water. This matter is also pending in the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur and the Supreme Court of India.
According to the report by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), 10 elephants have tuberculosis, 62 have blood problems, 19 are blind, most are malnourished and all 102 have foot problems.
The research also suggested the following:
41 per cent of tourists think it's acceptable to ride an elephant in 2019, compared to 53 per cent in 2014.
39 per cent of tourists that visited Amer Fort believed the elephants were in pain and suffering.
21 per cent would recommend friends and family to not ride elephants.
The report said that the elephants have suffered very difficult lives. Retirement will give them little happiness and pleasure that they deserve. They ended the note by thanking the forest department for retiring 20 elephants from this awful life of captivity and also wrote that they will not give up until elephant riding is a thing of the past.
They also hoped that the Rajasthan state forest department would adhere to this decision in the interests of both human safety, animal welfare and that this progressive step will spell the end of the cruel spectacle of elephant rides in Amer Fort.