People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has got the backing of Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, as Kohli has written to the Rajasthan's forest and environment minister to relocate an elephant simply known as ‘number 44’, to a rehab facility.
A group of American tourists had witnessed eight men violently beating an elephant at Amber Fort in June last year, and the animal is still being forced to give rides. "As a professional cricketer, I am proud to represent our country, but when I learned about the hateful attack on 'Number 44' last June, I felt so ashamed," Kohli wrote in the letter.
Kohli wrote further, "Violence against animals is completely unacceptable, not to mention illegal, and our nation cannot fail elephants this way. I beseech you to start helping them by transferring Number 44 to a reputable rehabilitation facility where she can get the care she needs, socialise with others of her kind, and live free from chains, abuse, and fear."
Kohli's letter follows PETA India's complaint to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Rajasthan Forest Department, which resulted in a show cause notice being issued to 'Number 44's' custodian, Wasid Khan, holding him responsible for the abuse.
Notice also stated an investigation carried out by the regional forest officer for Jaipur Zoo along with a photograph supplied by the American witness indicated that the elephant was treated cruelly, in apparent violation of numerous animal-protection laws.
Jaipur Police has registered complaint against unknown people under Sections 429 and 289 of the Indian Penal Code for mistreating the elephant and putting the public at risk. However, Khan continues to use the animal for rides.
PETA India whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment" notes that captive elephants, such as the ones forced to give rides in Jaipur, are controlled under the threat of beatings.
Often denied regular veterinary services and suffering from foot and back problems, including arthritis, the pachyderms are forced to stand on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Many develop neurotic forms of behavior and die prematurely.
(Inputs from news18.com)