Jaipur, March 5 (IANS) A day before the Supreme Court is likely to hear the case of cruel and apparently illegal use of captive elephants in the country, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, here on Thursday, wrote a letter to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and urged him to stop elephant rides at the Amer Fort and Elephant Village (Hathigaon) because of the potential risk to tourists and others to contract tuberculosis (TB) from elephants.
The PETA''s letter follows the evidence that inadequately and not tested elephants are being used for rides. Even some elephants previously tested reactive for TB, received insufficient treatment and inadequate prevention and control protocol was followed, it said.
The group has also submitted evidence to the Chief Minister''s Office that TB test kits used by the Rajasthan Forest Department (RFD) weren''t specific to elephants, not meant for diagnostic purpose and not approved by any regulatory body. Also, it recklessly declared TB-free seven of the 10 elephants, found reactive for TB in 2018 by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
Unlike the RFD, the AWBI used kits approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Two elephants that tested reactive for TB even with the inadequate RFD kit were miraculously declared TB-free within two-three months of detection, indicating that the standard treatment protocol (which usually takes at least six months) was not followed.
One elephant of the 10 that tested reactive for TB by the AWBI died before any action could be taken. While only 10 were tested for TB by the RFD, 134 elephants are used for rides at the Amer Fort. Only 91 were presented for testing to the AWBI, leaving 32 per cent of them untested, it said.
The PETA also said elephant rides in Jaipur were apparently illegal as per the response received under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
"The only way to protect tourists and the public from TB is to stop elephant rides and prevent humans from coming into direct contact with them," said PETA India Chief Executive Officer and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate.
"The PETA appeals to the Rajasthan government to protect travellers as well as the sick, suffering elephants that are being denied much-needed veterinary care, putting everyone at risk," he said.
A 2018 WBIA report revealed shocking cruelty to elephants used for rides in Jaipur and prompted PETA India to intervene in the matter before the Supreme Court.
This report also says the post-mortem reports for four elephants that died within five months in 2017 indicate that all had been suffering from respiratory diseases -- possibly TB.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS