PETA India gifts life-size mechanical elephant to Kerala temple


PTI, Jun 22, 2024, 7:13 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The non profit organization People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India along with actor Adah Sharma on Saturday gifted a life-size mechanical elephant to Pournamikavu temple here.

PETA said, in a statement, that the mechanical elephant, named Baladhasan, was donated to the temple in recognition of its decision to never own or hire live pachyderms for ceremonies and festivals.

The mechanical elephant, the third one to be introduced in a Kerala temple, is around three meters tall and weighs around 800 kilograms, PETA said.

Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said, “Technological progress allows us to preserve our deep cultural traditions and heritage while allowing elephants, who are endangered, to live with their families in the jungle.

“I am delighted to contribute this mechanical elephant with PETA India, enabling followers to participate in sacred rituals in a manner that is both safe for humans and respectful of animals.”

Pournamikavu Temple’s Mukya Karyadarshi M S Bhuvanachandran welcomed the donation and is quoted as having said, “On this auspicious Pournami day, we are delighted to have mechanical elephant Baladhasan with us in honour of all the divine creatures who yearn to roam the earth free and secure with their loved ones.” PETA India in its statement further said that according to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants killed 526 people in Kerala in a 15-year period.

It further said that two life-size mechanical elephants are already in use in Kerala temples through PETA India’s efforts in recognition of temples’ decisions never to own or hire live elephants.

“They include Irinjadappilly Raman at the Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple in Thrissur and Mahadevan at the Thrikkayil Mahadeva Temple in Kochi,” it said.

“PETA India encourages all venues and events using real elephants to switch to lifelike mechanical elephants or other means in place of live animals.

“PETA India advocates for elephants already in captivity to be retired to sanctuaries where they could live unchained and in the company of other elephants, healing psychologically and physically from the trauma of years of isolation, captivity, and abuse,” it said in its statement.

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