Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA - India) has objected to the Centre’s plan to send two elephants from the country’s zoos to Turkmenistan as a part of an animal exchange programme.
Minister of environment and forests Jairam Ramesh announced the animal exchange proposal recently.
A press release issued by PETA stated that the proposal was a clear violation of a Central Zoo Authority (CZA) November 2009 directive, which provides that all elephants presently confined to zoos would be shifted to camps, tiger reserves or forest department facilities at national parks. The CZA had issued the directive taking into account the danger that elephants pose to the public and their miserable living conditions in zoos.
“This abhorrent breach of both spirit and the letter of CZA directive will sentence these two elephants, who have suffered in zoos for years, to a continued life of loneliness and misery,” said PETA India’s Poorva Joshipura. “What is more shocking is that the government would allow this programme that would be illegal in India to occur elsewhere.”
The CZA also expressed concern over the lack of adequate space to allow free movement of elephants and the stress that is caused to these highly intelligent and social animals after being chained for long hours.