Animal welfare body writes to Env Min to stop display of elephants at Sonepur Mela

Aditi Gupta

New Delhi, Nov 7 (PTI) An animal welfare body has written to the environment minister, seeking his urgent intervention to stop the proposed display of elephants at Patna's Sonepur Fair which commencing November 10.

In a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, international animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection expressed concern over the 'extremely worrisome' development.

'In the last few years, the arrival of elephants at the fair has become almost negligible after a ban on their sale was imposed in 2000. However, this latest development is extremely worrisome.

'World Animal Protection urges all concerned authorities to cancel any plans to exhibit elephants at Sonepur Fair that may aggravate the trade in elephants and cause untold suffering to captive elephants everywhere,' it said.

Elephants traded in Sonepur Fair land up all over the country, including Jaipur in Rajasthan where they are held in inhospitable conditions and are used to provide joy rides, the letter said.

Officials from the ministry of environment, however, neither accepted nor denied receiving the letter.

The letter has also been sent to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the organisation said.

'We draw your attention to the directive of the Patna High Court in October 2017 that directed the Bihar government to ensure no wild animals were traded on the premises of Sonepur Fair,' Gajender K Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection, said. PTI AG AG TIRTIRTIR