Target: Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
Goal: Stop forcing elephants to fight for entertainment purposes.
Each year, elephants are forced to fight in front of crowds of howling spectators at the Suwori harvest festival in Assam, a northeastern state in India. The elephants are mounted by riders, traditionally called mahouts, who beat their heads with sticks in order to force them to charge forward and attack a rival. The matches last until one elephant pushes the other out of a circle drawn on the ground.
Though the riders claim to take special care so that the elephants are not injured during the fight, this does not mean that the animals do not face abuse. In order to train an elephant, owners will first break the animal’s spirit with starvation and constant confinement. Afterwards, physical force and violence are used to force the animals to fight. A video from the event shows elephants with skin problems that often arise from improper care.
Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals, and require the company of others for mental stability. Most captive elephants are taken from their mothers at a young age, a practice which causes extreme emotional distress to both mother and child. In captivity, the lifespan of an elephant is significantly shortened by factors such as chronic physical illness, disease, and mental anguish.
In India, elephants are considered sacred and are protected by law from abuse and torture. Forcing animals to fight for human entertainment is cruel and goes against Indian laws and values. Sign the petition below to demand that the government put a stop to this brutal and sickening event.
Dear Prakash Javadekar,
Elephants are forced to fight each other for human entertainment as part of Assam’s Suwori harvest festival. Riders, traditionally called mahouts, control the elephants and try to wrestle their opponents out of a ring drawn on the ground. While the riders claim that no animals are harmed during the fight, the elephants’ training process includes starvation, physical violence, and constant confinement.
Elephants are social and intelligent animals that suffer greatly in captivity from both mental and physical illnesses. Fighting elephants is not only cruel and illegal, but contributes to the poaching of baby elephants from the wild. We, the undersigned, demand that the Indian government step in to stop the elephant fights and lay charges against the organizers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fabien Bastide