Friday, April 13, 2007

Rahul Khanna's new campaign for elephants

Posing next to the tagline "Beaten, Shackled, Abused- Elephants Do Not Belong In Zoos," actor Rahul Khanna stars in a brand-new ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. In the ad Rahul Khanna is shown shackled in chains, with bruises painted onto his body.

The ad has been shot by top photographer Colston Julian. Why is Rahul Khanna making a statement for elephants in captivity? Last year, Mumbai saw the death of an elephant named Laxmi who was hit by a speeding tanker. Because proper medical attention could not be provided, Laxmi suffered with a broken leg and spinal injuries before dying a day later. Another elephant in Mumbai was frightened by a fire cracker and fell on a car. The mahout fled the scene and the elephant rampaged.

Elephants in cities cause obstruction to traffic and are a threat to the general public as well. Their feet are not equipped to walk on tar roads yet they spend their entire day and much of the night walking on these roads. These elephants are used for begging by the mahouts and there have been instances where the mahouts have used the elephants to intimidate people to extract money from them.

Zoos claim that they educate people and preserve species, but they rarely succeed on either count. “Zoos cannot provide for the complex needs of the animals who they hold captive,” says Rahul. “These majestic animals belong in the wild, but instead they are locked up like criminals-even though they've committed no crime. A more respectful way to observe these animals is through the fascinating wildlife programs available to everyone on TV.”

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