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Gods in Shackles
In the good old days, most Hindus did not eat meat, however, things changed after people from India began migrating to western countries. People can eat whatever they want, but the audaciousness of religious institutions to feed meat to a herbivorous animal, that too a cultural icon glorified as the embodiment of Lord Ganesh, is simply intolerable.
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a reemerging disease in captive elephants, with increasing numbers of cases reported in the past two decades from different countries. Asia in particular houses a large population...
When will it stop? That's the question many of us in the animal rights movement are trying to grapple with, as the death toll of elephants in Kerala continues to rise. In just over eight months, 16 captive and five wild elephants have died due to human interference -- that is more than two elephants a month.
Gods in Shackles
We were in the South, in Kerala; and just getting ready to leave Munnar -- a tiny hill station where we'd spent a couple of days. We were headed for Cochin. There we'd spend our last, remaining day, until it was time to catch our flight to Mumbai -- and yet another flight back home.
Heritage Animal Task Force
As expected, the release of Gods in Shackles, a culturally sensitive documentary, has angered temple authorities, owners and brokers who abuse elephants to make money. Sadly, instead of trying to right the wrong, they are denying the truth and putting out misleading information to confuse the public.
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The harsh reality is, violations are ultimately costing the lives of poor people. Their families are suffering, elephants are suffering and it's becoming clearer now than ever before that use of elephants is a no win situation. It's time to prevent unnecessary loss of people's lives, by releasing these elephants into a sanctuary where they can roam freely.
Gods in Shackles
It's paradoxical that people in Kerala mourn and light candles after elephants die; it seems like a superficial display of compassion. If they genuinely loved elephants they would revere and respect the elephants when they are alive, and stop exploiting them in festivals and temples under the guise of culture and religion.
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The fate of an elephant named Thiruvambadi Ramabadhran hangs in the balance. His trunk is paralyzed. Unable to eat or drink he stands helplessly, as his handlers are engaged in their own chats. To make matters worse, he has contracted infectious foot and skin diseases, and has been placed in solitary confinement.
December is a particularly torturous season for the more than 700 elephants of Kerala, but a profitable one for their owners and brokers, with the festival season kicking off across the state. Sadly these animals are paraded even during their musth -- an annual cycle when the bulls are in their peak mating season.
Gods in Shackles footage
India has a moral obligation to save this global treasure. But sadly, elephants are being captured illegally from the wild for the illicit ivory trade, and exploited commercially. Elephants are a keystone species, which means the survival of other species in the forest ecosystem depends on the elephants
You would expect the state forest officials to act swiftly and rescue the majestic animal immediately. But apparently that hasn't happened. In a petition submitted to the Prime Minister of India, Secretary of the Heritage Animal Task Force, Venkitachalam, has called for the Prime Minister of India to launch an investigation.
We've gathered undercover footage of Lakshmi's entire ordeal. Gods in Shackles will expose the abhorrent torture that Lakshmi tolerates every single day. Her sad story along with that of four elephants featured in our film epitomizes the pain and suffering of more than 600 elephants of Kerala, whose welfare is being compromised for profit.
The world renowned Trissur Pooram kicks off from April 29-30. More than 100 male elephants will be trucked in and displayed on the famous Thekkingkaadu Maidaan, in the heart of Trissur city. They will be transported from all across Kerala to the state's cultural hub, and paraded day and night, forced to stand for 36 straight hours, most of the time beneath the scorching sun.
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Rightfully, the secretary of HATS has called for a ban to transporting elephants in trucks, he has told me that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests is taking immediate measures to amend the elephant transportation rules that will also restrict the speed limits of these trucks.
Clearly, elephants' welfare is subjugated to the appointment schedules of festival parades for commercial return. No surprise, they are battling it out with each other and running amok! Why are people in Kerala surprised that the elephants are "behaving aggressively"?
A world renowned Guruvayur temple in the southern state of Kerala (India) that has garnered the United Nations World Heritage Site status is the "Ground Zero" for elephant torture. This prestigious temple, glamorous on the outside, also has a sordid zone where some of the dark torturous practices continue unabated.
A 72-year-old elephant, the famous Guruvayoor Padhmanabhan, is precariously balancing himself on three legs, as he is forced to do so to commemorate his 60 years of service at the world renowned Guruv...
Ganesh Chathurti falls on August 29 when Indian people will kick off 10 days of celebrations. Massive clay statues of the elephant god will be unveiled in homes and street corners, as sounds of drums and pipes will reverberate across the nation. But there's no relief for Lord Ganesh's embodiment, the elephant.
A temple elephant that has been paralyzed by torture with a banned weapon is fighting for his life. His handler reportedly tied a knife to a nine-meter long pole and inflicted serious injuries on his...
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Temple and festival elephants were drowning in a sea of sadness as the masses gathered in the thousands to celebrate the annual Trissur Pooram in Kerala, India -- the largest congregation of male elephants in the world. More than 90 elephants took turns during a 36-hour festival to entertain the insane crowd, mostly drunk and occasionally drenched by sudden downpours.
Elephants are being commoditized by a select few clever craftsmen that make all the profit, while the masses are being led to believe that Gods will be happy. People need to wake up to the reprehensible fact that in the guise of religion and culture India's heritage animal and one of the gentlest sentient beings of our planet is being tortured for human entertainment and profit.
Through my sojourns during my recent visit to Kerala, Lakshmi -- the most gorgeous 25-year-old female Asian elephant -- left an indelible impression. It was love at first sight. Lakshmi captured my heart and soul with her intense brown eyes, grace, and pious, but most importantly by opening her heart and showering me with unconditional love.