To successfully mark The World Elephant Day on August 12th, activists held a live protest in Mysore, in front of Kote Anjaneyaswamy Temple (Balaram Gate) against the ill treatment and physical labour of elephants in circuses, camps and processions. Activities like playing with fire or lifting heavy weights are some of the torturous works that elephants are subjected to. To put an end to their agony, the activists and members of PETA (Activists of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) carried out masked protests wearing masks of elephants and chains, showing to the people how cruelly elephants are treated.
Image Credit: anubimb.com
Inside the protest however, there had been a misunderstanding which readily distinguished elephants used during the long parades of ‘Vijaya Dashami’ in Karnataka. The protest wasn’t against the Dasara elephants being used in procession, who are, as a matter of fact, owned by the Government who take good care and keep them quite well. The protest was for the elephants who are tortured in running circuses and processions. But, the Dasara elephants are really cared for, and made sure that they are provided with the best of everything that they need. In short, the elephants who are used for this 400 year old tradition are kept like royals.
Wildlife activist Bhagyalakshmi K says, “Our main aim for this protest was to spread awareness about World Elephant Day, and to stop the cruelty towards elephants, like they are chained, beaten and killed for ivory. However, there has been a miscommunication that we are protesting against Dasara elephants, which we are not. We know Dasara elephants are taken very good care of and this is an age old tradition, which we don’t want to stop. Our protest is against cruelty to general elephants and in favour of their well-being.”
However, the activists were especially against the illogical treatment of elephants other events. Yes, mostly many circuses have closed down in the country, but the ones remaining treat elephants which little to no compassion. This scenario led the willing activists to voice their opinions for the elephants who are subjected to this impetuous torture.
Many activists portrayed those cruel people who chain the elephants and cause them pain which further symbolised the tortures meted out on the elephants. This helped the audience understand the scenario of those innocent elephants better. The elephants who are literally made to deal with death in circuses just for the entertainment of a few people have no voice of their own. Really, a brilliant step taken by the activists, and a protest like this would be helpful in saving them from their impeding death and was a necessity.