Cruelty to elephants | Sunday Observer

Cruelty to elephants

Elephants, with their legs chained, preventing free movement, electric bulbs wired to their bodies, gleaming, mahouts wielding elephant controlling spears, walking beside them like armed guards, are paraded in Buddhist religious pageants and processions. Do not the elephants suffer pain and discomfiture in the process? It has come to a situation, due to foolish vanity, to parade a large number of elephants without utility requirements, to claim greater success of the pageant or procession. The audience is gratified watching the suffering elephants parade!

Just one elephant to carry the Sacred Relic, the Replica of the Sacred Tooth Relic, or for the Dorakada Asna Devaa Dutha to ride on (an event not directly related to Buddhism) is understandable, though better avoided. Cannot decorated vehicles replace the elephants, sparing the indignity of parading chained elephants, thereby practising “Ahimsa” or kindness? In the olden days palanquins were used to carry the Sacred Tooth Relic in procession.

On the other hand, the elephant has no special place in Buddhism – not treated as a sacred species. Buddhism requires all animals to be treated with kindness – Ahimsa.

Other faiths do not parade elephants in their religious pageants or processions.

I wonder what the elephant lovers and opposers of cruelty to animals have to say in this regard. 

Upali S. Jayasekera.