In a first in Kerala, a life-like mechanical elephant was dedicated to the deity at the Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple temple for performing daily rituals, instead of a real one.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India joined hands with actor Parvathy Thiruvothu, and held the 'Nadayiruthal' ceremony of 'Irinjadappilly Raman', the robotic elephant.
PETA said Raman will help conduct ceremonies at the temple in a safe and cruelty-free manner and thereby supports real elephants' rehabilitation and lives in forests and end the horror of captivity for them.
Thiruvothu said these days we have access to understanding what animals are forced to endure when humans use them for entertainment.
Head priest of the temple Rajkumar Namboothiri said they were 'extremely happy and grateful' to receive the mechanical elephant which will help them to conduct rituals and festivals in a cruelty-free manner and hoped that other shrines also consider replacing live elephants for rituals.
The frustration of captivity leads elephants to develop and display abnormal behaviour, PETA said, adding that, at their wit's end, frustrated elephants often snap and try to break free, running amok and so harming humans, other animals, and property.
'According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants killed 526 people in Kerala in a 15-year period. Thechikkattukavu Ramachandran, who has been in captivity for about 40 years and is one of the most often used elephants in Kerala's festival circuit, has reportedly killed 13 individuals – six mahouts, four women, and three elephants,' the release said.
It also called for retiring elephants already in captivity to sanctuaries where they can live unchained and in the company of other elephants, healing psychologically and physically from the trauma of years of isolation, captivity, and abuse.
PETA Allegedly Behind The Death Of Elephant Lakshmi Of Pondicherry
PETA has been accused by temple activists and devotees of causing the death of a 32-year old female elephant Lakshmi which belonged to the Manakula Vinayakar Temple in Pondicherry.
They said that Lakshmi was poorly treated when she was away from the temple and as a result her health deteriorated. Though she was brought back to the temple, she did not survive long and died due to a cardiac arrest in November 2020.
(With Inputs From PTI)
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!