India Diaspora
Rahul Khanna campaigns to save elephants
Apr 17, 2007 - 11:18:30 AM

New Delhi, April 17 - Actor Rahul Khanna has joined the 'save the elephant' campaign and stars in the new anti-zoo ad made by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -.

Shot by photographer Colston Julian, the ad is titled 'Actor Wants Fans to Know That Elephants Don't Belong in Zoos and Cities' and Rahul is shown shackled in chains, with bruises painted on his body.

'Zoos cannot provide for the complex needs of the animals who they hold captive,' said Rahul in a press statement.

PETA has pulled up its socks after Mumbai saw the death of an elephant named Laxmi, who was hit by a speeding tanker. In the absence of proper medical attention, Laxmi suffered a broken leg and spinal injuries before dying a day later.

This was followed by another incident where an elephant in Mumbai was frightened by a firecracker and fell on a car. The mahout fled the scene leaving the elephant to go wild. According to media reports, an entire platoon of SRPF - and 60 police personnel had to be called in to subdue her.

Keeping an elephant has become a costly affair. A single elephant requires almost 200 kg of food and over 150 litres of water in a day and many owners openly admit they cannot afford to feed them.

The animals are mistreated by the owners - their feet are not equipped to walk on tarred roads, yet they spend the entire day and much of the night walking on them.

Also, they are used for begging by mahouts and there have been instances where the pachyderms have been used to intimidate people to extract money from them.

Elephants are social creatures and live in closely-knit family groups in the wild. Captive conditions fail to provide a rewarding environment for them.

'These majestic animals belong in the wild, but instead they are locked up like criminals. A more respectful way to observe these animals is through the fascinating wildlife programmes available to everyone on TV,' said Rahul who is making a comeback with 'Raqeeb'.

In zoos and cities, animals are separated from their families as babies and are sentenced to a lifetime of boredom, loneliness and even abuse, said the statement.

Zoos claim that they educate people and preserve species, but they rarely succeed on either count. Zoos present visitors with a distorted view of wildlife. Conditions in zoos cause many animals to engage in self-mutilation and other abnormal and self-destructive behaviours, PETA added.

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