There is a petition going on that wants to make sure that India does not legalize the elephant trade. On December 17, 2021, the Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill was being questioned in Parliament. Clause 27 of the bill is causing an outrage amounts elephant activists and lovers. Why? Because the parliament would like to legalize the elephant trade. They believe that this will help with their elephant-human death rate issue.
In Indian culture, elephants are seen as a form of good luck but are treated with brutality. Elephants can be seen chained by temples, used for rides, in ceremonies, and performing tricks. In order to domesticate these elephants, the owners use a method called Katti Azhikal or Phajaan. This method involves beating and starving the elephant for 90 days! After three months, the elephant’s spirits are crushed and they have no choice but to obey. This, alone, should sicken all of us and make us want more protection for these magnificent animals.
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was put in place to protect wild elephants. While it made sure that no wild elephant can be traded or abused, it did not do anything to protect those in captivity. The only thing that stood in effect was that those elephants could not be sold. India’s Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) states that elephants in captivity can’t be sold but can be gifted or leased. Over 300 elephants have been leased to temples in Assam since 2003. There are no contracts or return dates for those elephants.
The government in India has a growing human-elephant conflict issue. According to their records, over 3,000 Indian lives were lost in the past seven years, due to elephants. Is legalizing commercial elephant trade going to fix this solution? It seems that they think it will.
What most people think this will do is open the doors for more poaching. In the end, we will end up losing our elephant population, once again. Right now there are 27,000 wild elephants left in India. Another 3,500 live in captivity. Five years ago there were 11% more elephants living in the wild. If the law was the change and allow commercial elephant trade