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Celebrities Petition Chief Ministers to become 'ELE-FRIENDS'

September 22, 2007 7:15:30 PM IST
Bollywood Trade News Network
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Celebrities Including Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, John Abraham, Raveena Tandon and Others Petition Chief Ministers to Follow Mumbai's Lead and Ban Entry of Elephants Into Urban Areas

What do you get when you put celebrities including Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, John Abraham and Raveena Tandon together with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India (PETA)? A very loud statement of compassion for elephants who live in cities where they are forced to walk on scorching-hot, pothole-ridden roads in busy traffic amid a cacophony of horns and engines. That's why many of the biggest celebrities in India like Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, John Abraham, Raveena Tandon, MP Priya Dutt, Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Isha Koppikar, Mahesh Bhatt, Yana Gupta, Rahul Khanna, Celina Jaitley, Gulshan Grover and many others have signed PETA's petition urging chief ministers across the country to ban the entry of elephants into urban areas. This petition is timed to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of elephant Lakshmi, who was killed by a truck last September. The government of Maharashtra has already banned the entry of elephants into Mumbai.

Why does life in the streets mean misery for elephants? They are prodded and hooked with sharp, metal ankuses that cause pain and suffering. When they are not working, the elephants are chained by their legs - unable even to move a single step. They commonly suffer from potentially deadly foot ailments, skin problems, eye infections and cataracts. Allowing elephants in crowded urban areas also poses a danger to the public. Frightened elephants have rampaged - killing mahouts and scattering crowds.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals; in the wild, females live in close-knit family groups for life. They spend about 18 hours a day walking, feeding, bathing in water holes and interacting with other elephants. They are known to mourn the loss of relatives - just as humans do. In captivity, elephants are separated from their families as babies and are sentenced to a lifetime of boredom, loneliness and abuse.

'We hope that other governments will emulate the progressive step of the government of Maharashtra - the petition should serve as a wake-up call', says PETA Chief Functionary Anuradha Sawhney.



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