Blind, killer jumbos paraded at Thrissur Pooram: AWBI

Partially blind and physically unfit elephants and ones with the history of killing people were paraded during Thrissur Pooram risking public safety, according to a report of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

The report, submitted to the Supreme Court recently, pointed out that “elephants were chained by all four legs preventing any movement under the threat of physical punishment and forced to stand for many hours, with no protection from the hot sun, and were denied adequate access to drinking water.”

The animals were exposed to the loud noise of drums, trumpets, pipes and cymbals and the blaring noise of the crowd. The custodians of 31 elephants lacked valid ownership certificate, which was mandatory under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972.

Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, with impaired vision, for whom a fitness certificate was not issued, was caparisoned and used for the formal announcement of the beginning of Thrissur Pooram. Lakshmi of the Thiruvambadi Devaswom with a blind left eye was issued a fitness certificate. Thechikottukavu Devidasan of the Thiruvambadi Devaswom which has a history of killing three people was paraded, risking public safety, it said.

Prohibited weapons like ankus were rampantly used. The marks of injuries on legs of elephants from constant chaining, impaired vision, cracked nails and wounds were hidden with black material, it said.

The inspection team, comprising Rakesh Chittora, veterinary trainer; M. N. Jayachandran, member, Kerala State Animal Welfare Board; and Sunil Havaldar, Animal Welfare Officerl also reported that unfit elephants were paraded in violation of the animal protection laws and directives of Supreme Court of India and High Court of Kerala.

The report pulled up V. Ratheesan, District Collector, and K.G. Simon, District Police Commissioner, for failing to facilitate the AWBI inspection of elephants and suggested disciplinary action against them.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 2:51:24 AM |

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