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20 Jul 2019, Edition - 1467, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Cruelty cause for violent reaction of temple elephants, say activists

Keerthana Ramesh

COIMBATORE: Incidents of cruelty against elephants in temples are aplenty and animal rights activists allege ill-treatment and lack of proper food, rest and medication leading to abnormal behaviour and sometimes proving fatal.

Vanam Trust of India Founder S Chandra Sekar told The Covai Post ctivist and Founder of Vanam Trust of India said earlier elephants were used for construction purposes, wars and as part of temple rituals. But nowadays we have plenty of resources and there is no need of an elephant in a temple,” he said.

“Years of exploitation have made a collapse in the eco-system. Elephants are brutally handled and caretakers let them starve for more than a week. It takes at least six months of consistent torture to domesticate it,” adds Chandra Sekar.

Domesticating elephants involves starvation, piercing of the ears with hot iron rods and pulling a rope through the holes to restrict its movement. The mahout will always thwack the elephant to do some gestures and the training turns out to be painful, he added.

“Elephants should be placed in the sand so that it can walk around 40 km a day. It should be fed over 240 kg of food and nearly 120 litres of water daily which is most often not be followed, especially in temples,” he says.

Activist Manoj says, “Only because of not having rest, proper intake of food and as a result of the heat, elephants stand on stones on the temple premises and can be case for tragic incidents like the recent one at Samayapuram temple in Trichy.”

“Elephants are captured from forests around the city and officials and caretakers cage them to the woods to ensure they get familiarised with the new environment. They are fed on ragi, kambu, thinai mixture, palm shoots and coconut barks which are not nutritious after all the torture that the animal has had to undergo,” said Chandra Sekar.

“The ill-treatment by the caretakers and the resultant depression caused to elephants can lead to many abnormal incidents in temples. It is this ill-treatment that leads to elephants turning violent and causing loss to life and property,” he added.

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