Actor Rahul Khanna writes an impassioned letter to Vilasrao Deshmukh from Bangkok .
Dear Mr Chief Minister,
Elephants are social creatures and in the wild, they spend about 18 hours a day walking, feeding, bathing in water holes and interacting with other elephants. They are intelligent and sensitive animals and are known to mourn the loss of a relative, just as humans do.
In captivity, less exercise, hard flooring (which does not have any ‘give’ to it) and standing around in faeces and urine when chained up causes cracked and soft toe nails. They are made to walk and beg on hot tar roads in the city.
The methods used to control elephants are very cruel and cause a threat to the mahouts as well. This is because hands-on training requires absolute dominance of the elephants by the keeper, which can only be achieved initially by inflicting pain on the animals and then reinforced by the threat of it. We’ve all seen the ‘ankus’ used by the mahouts to cruelly control elephants.
Animals such as elephants do not have any place in cities. There have been countless incidents of mahouts being charged with begging but they pay the paltry fines and take the animals to beg again some where else.
I am writing to ask you, as the Chief Minister of Maharshtra, won’t you please ban the entry of these gentle giants into the city of Mumbai? Let Mumbai be the first city to take a compassionate step and say ‘Elephants belong in the wild, not in cities’.