Still Riding Elephants? You’re at Risk of Catching Tuberculosis
Touching or riding wild animals on holiday is never a good idea – for the animals or you.
While many Brits are beginning to recognise the cruelty behind elephant rides, most travellers are unaware that a number of elephants at Amer Fort in India – a popular tourist destination – have tuberculosis (TB), which can be transmitted to humans.
In 2018, it was revealed that at least 10 of the 102 elephants being forced to carry tourists at the site tested reactive for TB. Since then, the Rajasthan Forest Department (RFD) has tried to allay public concerns by retesting elephants, but information recently obtained by PETA India reveals that the RFD’s TB test kits were not specific to elephants, not meant for diagnostic purposes, and not approved by any regulatory body. Reassuring, right?
The RFD also declared two of the reactive elephants “non-reactive” two months after diagnosis, even though the disease is typically treated with a multidrug regimen for six to 12 months after the affected animals have been quarantined.
PETA India has now submitted this evidence to the Chief Minister’s Office, urging him to stop elephant rides at Amer Fort and Elephant Village (Hathigaon) because of the potential human health risks.
Elephants Beaten and Bullied Into Giving Tourists Rides
Besides the risk of contracting TB, riding these wild animals is horribly cruel to the elephants themselves. Elephants are often abducted from their families and beaten with bullhooks to break their spirits at a young age to make it possible for humans to clamber on top of them. When they aren’t carrying around ignorant tourists to earn money for their handlers, they spend long hours chained and are denied any semblance of a natural life.
An inspection by the Animal Welfare Board of India in 2018 found that elephants at Amer Fort were under severe psychological distress, many of their tusks had been cut, and a number of the animals were blind.
You Can Help Elephants
People who pay to ride elephants are responsible for this merciless cycle of abuse and are putting themselves at risk of disease. Please, don’t get taken for a ride – and share this information with a friend who needs to know.
Help elephants forced to give rides in India – send a message to the Indian Minister of Tourism: