Actor Harshvardhan Rane, who has ventured into Bollywood with "Sanam Teri Kasam", is trying to draw people's attention towards the condition of abused elephants, which are used for tourist joyrides.
Harshvardhan Rane. Pic/ IANS
In Harshvardhan's new campaign for animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, he stands bare-chested in chains next to the tagline, "It's Not Just a Ride. It's Their Life. Elephants Used for Rides Are Beaten, Chained, Broken".
"Elephant rides are not at all joyful for the animals. I don't think it is cool at all to apply force and make someone do something which they are not willing to," Harshvardhan, who has also starred in Telugu films, said in a statement.
A PETA-commissioned investigation of elephant training in Nepal and of elephants used for rides in Jaipur revealed that the tuskers are physically and emotionally abused at every juncture.
Often when they are just two years old, elephants are torn away from the tender care of their mothers and are either tied up between trees with heavy chains and ropes, which cause painful burns, or confined to a tiny wooden enclosure, read the PETA statement.
Trainers then beat the young elephants with sticks and jab them with 'ankuses' until they lose all hope and begin to obey commands, a process that sometimes lasts for months.
These iron prods are also used to pierce their sensitive ears, yank on them and force them to walk in a certain fashion or direction.
Trainers then continue to thrash the elephants on their heads and other parts of their bodies when they don't obey, leaving many injured. They are often forced to give rides with untreated open wounds.