Lets be more humane to animals

I refer to the article that appeared in Sunday Island regarding the declining number of domesticated elephants.

In that article the main concern is the shortage of elephants to participate in Religious festivals. If that is the case government must consider a plan for the organizers of those festivals to have elephants leased from the Pinnawela orphanage and to have them trained and kept in the orphanage under close supervision of the orphanage management. The orphanage should be vested with full control over the welfare of the animals. They could be transported safely to religious venues only for the functions and returned to the orphanage after the event. The training and maintenance cost of the animals to be the responsibility of the lessee. 

The government should look at conducting vocational courses to train people to become certified elephant handlers and assistant handlers. Courses should include learning the A to Z of elephants’ social behavior and acceptable techniques to train elephants to participate in religious functions eliminating some of the old methods of subjecting them to pain and suffering.

During the period the elephants are taken out for festivals they should be kept and cared conforming to the conditions set out by a management of an animal welfare committee that will include at least two veterinary surgeons experienced in understanding health conditions of Elephants.

The recent death of an aged elephant is clear evidence that she may not have been physically fit enough to walk distances and participate in the procession. Either the mahout or the owner of the elephant or both are responsible for taking the elephant to Kandy to participate in the procession. Another question raised is whether these aged elephants are still being used for logging and to do other hard work without concern for their health condition. If this elephant was in her old age she should have been left in retirement away from hard work. 

A domestic elephant looses it's freedom and becomes isolated from its own kind and spends the rest of his life as a prisoner chained to a tree 24 hours a day. There is no hope of freedom, They are often taken out to do heavy work . If they fail to follow the commands the treatment they receive is cruel and painful with pointed spikes pressed to sensitive areas of their body. What crime have they done to be treated like this? Let’s be more humane to animals .

Ranjith Chandrasekera

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