How does a mechanised elephant work and why does this Kerala Temple have one
Many animal rights organisations have said that elephants in captivity should be stopped. Elephants are very social animals and need to be part of their natural habitat
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India along with actor Parvathy Thiruvothu donated a life-size mechanical elephant worth Rs 5 lakh to the Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple in Thrissur, Kerala.
The PETA said that deploying real animals for temple rituals was causing harm to the animals as they needed to stay away from their natural habitat. PETA also indicated that staying away from their natural habitat is causing the elephants trauma.
“JUMBO NEWS! Kerala’s Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple will use a lifelike mechanical elephant to perform rituals, allowing real elephants to remain with their families in nature,” PETA said on its official Twitter handle. PETA also shared a video of real elephants being beaten up by animal trainers.
Kerala’s Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple will use a lifelike mechanical elephant to perform rituals, allowing real elephants to remain with their families in nature.
The initiative is supported by @parvatweets.#ElephantRobotRaman https://t.co/jwn8m2nJeU pic.twitter.com/jVaaXU7EHg
— PETA India (@PetaIndia) February 26, 2023
Rajkumar Namboothiri, priest at the Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple welcomed the move and said that the real worship is to protect all forms of life created by God. Allowing elephants to stay in their natural habitat should be the real way to revere the elephant God, Lord Ganesh, he added.
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PETA also said that elephants are highly social beings and that they need to live in the forests with their families for the sake of their well-being. PETA also encouraged local Temples to use mechanical elephants and send the real ones to the forests.
About the mechanised elephant:
The name of the mechanised elephant is ‘Irinjadappilly Raman’ and it weighs around 800 kilograms. It is a 11-foot tall mechanised elephant. After being brought to the Temple, it underwent the traditional ceremony of offering animals to the Temple God known as ‘Nadayiruthal’.
Irinjadappilly Raman’ was dressed in decorative covering to resemble the installation of an actual elephant.
The elephant’s trunk has five electric motors and can be controlled by the operator with a switch. The project of cruelty-free festivals, which promotes the rehabilitation of the ‘captive’ elephants was praised by animal-rights groups.
The mechanised elephant which can hold five persons at once, was made by Thrissur-based craftsmen, who are also working on launching elephant statues for the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Further the elephant is moveable and can be used in processions. It is made up of an iron frame with rubber coating and cost Rs 5 lakh.
“Indian film actor Parvathy Thiruvothu sent her support to PETA India in presenting this innovative solution that will spare real elephants a life in which they are taken away from their families and forest homes, deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, and kept constantly chained, lame, and lonely,” a PETA statement read.
The Indian Express while citing Temple priest, Rajesh Namboothiri said that the Temple had decided against using captive elephants due to the animal’s high cost and an increase in violent animal occurrences. He also urged other Temples to do the same.
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PETA, an international animal rights organisation was founded in 1980. PETA says its missions to promote ethical treatment of animals and to advocate for their welfare.
PETA has also been criticised for using provocative and graphic imagery in its campaigns.
PETA has over 6.5 million members and supporters across the world and is one of the largest animal rights groups. Some of its campaigns have been against animal testing, factory farming, use of animals in entertainment and fur and leather industries.
Story first published: Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 14:10 [IST]
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