Mysuru, Aug 10: With just two months left, Karnataka’s flagship Dasara festival has run afoul of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, which has opposed elephants in the celebrations.
The organization will stage a dharna here on Thursday, calling for an end to the use of elephants in performances, including circuses and processions, and for tourist rides. This comes four days ahead of World Elephant Day. While officials have left the decision to the government, stakeholders in the tourism sector said Dasara is incomplete without elephants.
Dasara elephants treated well: DCF
Peta said elephants are used in the Vijayadashami procession during Mysuru Dasara.
Elephants are protected under Schedule I of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and have been declared a national heritage animal by the central government. However, they are excluded from the list of animals banned from performances under Section 22 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
BS Prashanth, president, Mysuru Travel Agents’ Association, told TOI Dasara has been celebrated in Mysuru for over 400 years and elephants play a major role. “For two months before Dasara, elephants are given special food not available in the forest. The treatment is good,” he added.
Siddaramappa, DCF (wildlife) said: “There is no cruelty meted out to Dasara elephants. It’s a 400-year-old tradition that elephants are part of Dasara festivities. These elephants are cared for well.”
PETA for ban on elephants during Dasara