years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Every year elephant polo games are organised in Asia to celebrate an event or simply as a one-off tourist stunt. Despite the worldwide opposition to these events, and the pain, frustration and danger it causes to these mighty animals, these travesties continue. Animals Asia has added our voice to the call to stop these events and as the first of these annual events looms, we have once again contacted the people responsible to appeal for an end to what amounts to torture.
Below is a text of a letter we have today sent to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan (via the electronic messaging service on the Rajasthan government website http://www.rajasthan.gov.in/rajgovt/misc/reachthegovt.html), regarding the forthcoming "Elephant Festival" in March 2009, for your information.
Shri Ashok Gehlot,
Honourable Chief Minister
Rajasthan State Government
26 February 2009
My name is Mark Jones, I am a veterinarian from the UK, and I am the animal welfare director at Animals Asia Foundation, a Hong Kong based NGO dedicated to improving the lives of all animals in Asia, end cruelty and restore respect for animals Asia-wide
On behalf of Animals Asia Foundation, I would like to express our concern over the continued abuse of elephants used in festivals in India, in particular the forthcoming "Elephant Festival" scheduled for March 10th in Jaipur. According to the Rajasthan Travel Guide, heavily decorated elephants at the festival will be paraded in a "catwalk" format, be required to run races, compete in a "tug of war" with people, and play polo, among other activities. The Rajasthan Travel Guide suggests that the festival has been "devised especially with the tourist in mind" (see http://www.rajasthantravelguide.com/rajasthan_fair_festivals/elephant_festival.html).
Forcing these majestic animals to perform the kinds of degrading acts referred to in the travel guide represents not only a degradation of everything these magnificent animals represent, but also a violation of India's animal rights legislation. Such activities, far from celebrating and revering the role of elephants in India's society and ecosystem, only serve to reduce this iconic animal to no more than a cheap circus act, and are designed purely to generate revenue from tourists.
We understand that in 2005 the Animal Welfare Board of India successfully dissuaded the Assam State Government from forcing festival elephants to perform such events as races, fights, tug of wars, and football, since when festivals celebrating elephants have continued successfully in Assam without resorting to these kinds of activities. We urge you to follow the lead of Assam and remove these events from festivals held in Rajasthan.
Mark Jones BVSc MSc(Stir) MSc(London) MRCVS, Veterinarian
Animal Welfare Director
Animals Asia Foundation
Tel: (852) 2791 2225
Fax: (852) 2791 2320
Email: [email protected]
Animal Welfare Board of India