19 May, 2022

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The Perahera Elephant: Torture, Pain & Suffering Behind The Glitz

By Ajita Kadirgamar

Ajita Kadirgamar

Ajita Kadirgamar

Are you planning to view the Kandy Esala Perehera which takes place August 8-18th?

If it’s your first time you will no doubt be awed by the splendour of the event; the riot of colour, the twinkling lights and burning torches, the thunderous noise of drums, whip cracking and conch blowing, the massive crowds, flashlights popping, dancers and acrobats cavorting in the streets, hopeful devotees in fulfilment of vows with hooks piercing their skin, and most of all the elephants. Those majestic beasts, caparisoned and adorned, stately and dignified, yet forever held captive for the enjoyment of their human masters.

If you can, imagine for a moment being one of the hundred elephants participating in this annual pageant. Then imagine your most terrifying nightmare (the one that comes back to haunt you time after time). That nightmare is what you as a Perehera elephant will endure year after year, as you are forced to participate in this procession.

As an elephant, you will have walked many kilometres to get to Kandy, on searing tar roads in the blazing heat or if among the ‘fortunate’, you may have got a ride in the back of a truck, also in the scorching sun, manacled and chained, with crazed motorists coming at you left, right and centre, horns blasting furiously. Elephants are known to travel vast distances in the jungle, at their own pace and with their own agenda. They walk under trees and constantly cover their bodies with soft earth to protect their sensitive skin from the sun, and as an insect repellent. Their natural environment does not include tarred road surfaces or four wheel motion. elephants in Sri Lanka

As an elephant, you will have to suffer the weight and discomfort of the robes, capes, ornaments and battery powered electric lights covering your body and large ears that usually serve to ventilate. Your vision will be limited, you will hardly be able to see as you walk because the eye slits of your costume keep shifting and blocking your view.

As an elephant, your so-called ‘carer’, the mahout, will sit on your neck and spine, prodding and poking you as he usually does, or he will walk by your side pulling at your multiple chains and jabbing your sore, weary legs with his bull hook (ankus).You may have to carry up to three people on your back on this occasion. Even a horse only carries a single rider.

As an elephant, the heat and the glowing, curling flames emanating from the flame torch carriers and the fire ball dancers will remind you of your beloved forests and jungles burnt black to make way for famers and their crops, villagers chasing you and your family away from your homeland, brandishing fire and insults in your face.

As a privileged elephant, you will have the honour of carrying the sacred relic or some other artefact. However no one will see the many straps, belts and buckles that constrain you and hamper your mobility, but which are needed to hold the structure in place.

As an elephant, your sensitive ears will flinch from the noise of drummers, whip crackers, trumpet blowers, loud speakers, ice cream vendors’ horns, and all the cacophony associated with such grand public festivity.

As an elephant walking in procession you will be flanked by thronging crowds on either side of you, a sea of human beings who as your cellular DNA memory will remind you, have only caused you and your species much pain and suffering.

Dear spectator, this year by all means go ahead and enjoy the Perahera, be awestruck by its magnificence for indeed it is a unique spectacle. But as you watch the magnificent elephants file by, spare a thought for their discomfort and suffering. Imagine yourself in their place. Take a moment to remember that elephants are highly intelligent beings, they have feelings, they cry, they have astonishing memory capacity, they nurture their young as we do our babies. Most of all, dear spectator, remember elephants were born to be wild and free. They are not meant to be paraded for our viewing pleasure.

The tradition of including elephants in processions needs to be rethought through awareness-raising. Sri Lankans living in other countries have begun to celebrate such traditions using artificially constructed, beautifully decorated elephants on wheels, proving that it is not necessary to inflict pain or suffering on living animals any more. After all we are supposed to be more enlightened in the 21st century, than our ancestors who first initiated the concept of the Perahera.

If you observe any cruel treatment of the elephants before, during, or after the Kandy Esala Perahera, please take photos and report such instances to DWC Hotline: 1992. You are encouraged to also share your observations on the Say No To Cruelty To Our Elephants of Sri Lanka Facebook page.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    8

    So damn right… There is talk of Elephants being kept away from these circuses in the future… Fingers crossed…

    • 14
      21

      For Buddhists Esala Perahara (Procession) isn’t a circus. It’s a religious festival.

      The cry to stop taking elephants in the procession may be reasonable but it hurts Sri Lankan Buddhists so let’s try to persuade the relevant authority to minimize physical and mental pain given to them and reduce the number of elephants taken in the procession.

      Pressure to stop them in procession seems to come with hatred towards Sri Lankan people. Kandy perahara is a historical and cultural event for Buddhists world over.

      It’s well known that elephants, lions, tigers, birds etc. are trained to perform in circuses.

      What’s difficult to understand is these so called animal lovers don’t love other animals and are very greedy of animal flesh and promote slaughtering them.

      • 26
        8

        SR,

        What an idiotic comment. But, thanks a lot for making it anyway. So that, we know you exist.

        In fact, you represent a reasonable chunk of fake buddhists in our country. Who believe in dumb rituals of this nature. That has nothing to do with true Buddhism.

        For fake Buddhists like yourself these rituals are far more important than the essence of Buddhism. Which is rooted in compassion towards all living creatures.

        I grew up in a typical Buddhist household. I have no hatred towards Sri Lanka. However, I hate the cruelty being carried out against innocent elephants in my name. It is well documented. I will fight to make sure it will be ended. It will be ended.

        Cheers!

        PS:
        Please note elephants are a massive racket in SL. We are about to destroy a gift nature given to our country.

        We are destroying its’ habitat. Look at the destruction of Hambantota nature reserve by the uneducated, criminal clan that was governing SL. Look at Wilpattu.

        Kidanpped baby elephants, often after killing its’ mother are then tortured into submission. This is an unspeakable crime against the voiceless. Then chained, poked with a bull hook and enslaved for the rest of its’ life.

        How dare you claim this practice is in line with Buddhist principles?

        Perehera is only one day per year. Rest of the time they are doing Safari rides for tourists or lifting logs. This is a massive business run by criminals hiding behind Buddhism.

        What an insult to Buddhism! Shame on bloody idiots who still support this practice.

        • 9
          4

          Ben
          Well said

        • 8
          6

          Ben Hurling

          What made you think that I’m a Buddhist?

          Well; What I meant to say was that this is a sensitive issue involving people with strong bond with a tradition inspired by Buddhism. it is religious as well as a cultural event.

          I accept the fact that it’s cruel to take any animal to go in processions, to perform is circuses, etc. etc.

          Look at horse races, isn’t it a tradition for Englishmen. A request to stop horse races telling them that horses were not born to run race to make people happy, how long it would take them to understand it or will they ever understand it.

          Some might argue that horse is a gods creation to make people happy.

          We can pinpoint these human weak points not only to Sri Lanka but also to the whole world, to relieve animals from human subjugation.

          Fortunately there aren’t wild elephants in Britain or any other European country, if they had been there they would have been taken to run races instead of horses.

          I appreciate your commitment towards elephant but I want to see your equal commitment towards other animals as well.

          A universal effort should be made to stop cruelty to animals without selectively blaming small countries like Sri Lanka and to frustrate its innocent people.

          • 3
            1

            well said – horse racing – geyhound racing – very cruel and done for money – all cruetly should be addressed- and not cry about elephants only

        • 2
          6

          I wish people would stop making idiotic comments in the name of Buddhism – this is a tradition. In some cases this practice and other things we use these animals for, have caused cruelty to elephants, and with all the evidence, no one can deny that. These traditions can continue without using elephants in this manner, or at least use them while ensuring their comfort year round. We should not be capturing elephants from the wild at all.
          This article, however, is full of pseudo-scientific nonsense, hopefully innocently said in support of a good cause and not deliberately singling out this tradition for the purpose of vilifying Sri Lankan culture.

      • 2
        1

        sr,

        Let us take the elephants in procession, standing on level wheeled platforms, dragged by tractors.

        This will lessen their misery.

      • 6
        1

        @sr – I always thought that (true) practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings were those that were against inflicting cruelty to any sentient beings (check ‘Right Action’ of ‘The Eight-fold Path’).

        This has nothing to do with “hatred towards Sri Lankan people”.

        And that nonsense you talk about “circuses” has nothing to do with Buddhism!

        • 4
          1

          To whom it may concern

          One need not be a Buddhist to be kind towards animals, I’m also against cruelty to animals not because it’s mentioned in Buddhism but it’s my love and kindness towards them. I don’t sacrifice my freedom of thinking for the sake of religion.

          In our argument there’re 2 parties, elephants and people with love and devotion for the procession,

          To my understanding both parties are equally innocent, I don’t think that thousands of people gather to kandy to witness the ill-treatment caused to elephants and enjoy it.

          What really happens is the peoples devotion to both religion and cultural items eclipses the bad treatment caused to elephants.

          If you examine closely you can see the the way people love and respect these animals, especially the casket carrier, people almost worship that tasker.

          Please don’t hurt anybody; the elephants or innocent people, whether Buddhists or not, whether right or wrong.

          Let us adopt a slow and effective way to relieve elephants.

          I think more cruelty is caused to animals in slaughtering houses.

          Please stop that first and come to stop elephants in Kandy perahara. I’ll join you and I’m sure all the Sri Lankans will be there to help you, the great animal lovers.

    • 6
      1

      Dear Ajita,
      I appreciate your concern for the lives of elephants in captivity. Do you seriously think that the life of an elephant is more important to you than the life of your father which was cruelly taken away. May I please request you to demand an inquiry into the death of your father on which there is widespread belief that he was kiled by hired gunmen from the army arranged by a then SLFP strongman who feared that your father may stand in the way to his ambition of Srilanka Pesidency.

  • 9
    16

    Your article i is dishonest. Probably, you are christian/Catholic or unemployed NGO. Because, In Sri lanka elephant handlers may be abusive and they may need training. But, photos do not show that those elephants are connected to the Perahara.

    What is your history in relation poaching tuskers in Africa, or abusing elephants in Zoos ?

    It looks definitely, you are anti-buddhist.

    • 10
      4

      Jim Softy,

      Ajita despite her own faith is way more Buddhist than you ever will be.

      She has the guts to raise her voice against this crime. Regardless of the chorus of fake Buddhists of your caliber screaming loud.

      Please read my response to a dumb comment made by your stupid, fake Buddhist cousin SR above.

      Cheers!

      • 6
        12

        IF she is a genuine Animal rights worshipper, she should have started a face book page to stop killing millions of food animals all over the world.

        She is crying out loud about this 100 elephants contributing the peraahera for 10 days once a year.

        That is anti-buddhist stand.

        But, I am also for giving more training to Elephant handlers to treat animals better. They are still using the age old practices. Elephants are very intelligent and they can be handled easily without using the ancinet practices. she could have done a postive contribution by suggesting training the mahouts. Instead, she does something else.

        Agita Kadiragamar looks just a jealous, FULL OF HATRED woman who is using her ability take revenge and show her jealousy.

        In buddhism, these are the true Low castes.

        • 6
          0

          Jim not so soft,

          matt vela de?

          “”That is anti-buddhist stand””

          In practice Lanka buddha does not translate to wisdom in english but by order Mara PM (minister of buddha sassana ) Kuddu from pakistan to serve the tourist and locals .

          Give us the concept of `wisdom in algebraic equation please.

          • 3
            0

            bandito

            “Give us the concept of `wisdom in algebraic equation please.”

            Two divided by two = zero = Size of former Sri Lankan Housing minister Weerawansa’s brain = Wisdom.

            • 0
              0

              concept – in words my friend.

              humour & sensitivity…..

              weerawansa is a drained brain punching bag for all the voters so that he returns as minister.

            • 0
              0

              “Size of former Sri Lankan Housing minister Weerawansa’s brain = Wisdom. “

              weerawansa is brutish, with a wanderlust scream. umbra,down south of wisdom of europe (southerners of england/eu are general pudhu.)
              what an animal on 2 legs in a benz that goes to japan pretty often?

      • 3
        8

        Beef eating Tamils preaching compassion to animals.

  • 9
    10

    Ajita Kadiragamar:

    If you can, imagine for a moment being one of the hundred elephants participating in this annual pageant. Then imagine your most terrifying nightmare (the one that comes back to haunt you time after time). That nightmare is what you as a Perehera elephant will endure year after year, as you are forced to participate in this procession.

    With the above paragraph, if you are thinking about that you are an elephant. That is just a stupid argument. If you are fat as an elephant, that is another argument or if you try to get into elephant mentality, another stupidity.

    Every where in the world, there is animal abuse. See how the democratic developed world is killing for beef, pork, chicken, goat, lamb, horse, frog and the list is endless.

    How many times, you are spoken about killing cattle, chicken, pork in Sri lanka.

    It looks your jealousy.

    Most probably, a Tamil dalit.

  • 9
    10

    If you are genuionly sympathetic about animals, you can fight against killing thousands of cattle, pigs, goats, chicken and any other animals for food. Instead, you are trying to make a big deal about these 100 or so elephants of which any elephant is not killed,Why don’t you talk about millions of food-animals killed all over the world.

    It is simply your anti-buddhist stand.

    How thorough bred horses are killed simply because they were injured in racing. That is animals for entertainment.

    Why don’t you be honest and expose your stand on this ?

  • 10
    14

    Oh Lady, please stick to what you know about. Sorry, Kandy Perahara is not one of them.

  • 8
    3

    Perahera is a cultural pageant with long history in Sri lanka. Out of all perehera’s using elephants kandy Esala perahera is the most significant.Most of other perahera procession were started during last 20 years by individual temples to increase the self image t should not be allowed to use elephants in their processions.
    I am thankful for the author to write about this subject as many fears to bring up this subject in fears of political repercussion in the name of Buddhist Sinhala society.
    I think it is fair to limit number of elephants used and only to be used in most significant cultural events like Kandy Perahera.

  • 13
    3

    Well stated, Ajita.

    And all this suffering inflicted on these unfortunate animals are perpetrated by our doyens of Sinhala Buddhism!

    What a farce!!

    And to cap things off, the hypocrites in charge prevent EVERYONE in and around Kandy from purchasing meat or liquor for ten days during this ‘event’!!!!

  • 12
    1

    I think it would better to have a motor vehicle parade instead of elephants.

    • 8
      0

      Yes all the luxury cars imported for CHOGAM and for ministers and for the Mara dynasty should be paraded with the owners driving it …so the people of this country can see the extent of corruption

  • 13
    2

    Yes. We as Buddhists should protest against using elephants in Peraharas , and the tradition of recruiting young boys as Samaneras.

    • 15
      0

      Diogenes

      “We as Buddhists should protest against using elephants in Peraharas , and the tradition of recruiting young boys as Samaneras.”

      And stop eating flesh.

  • 6
    5

    Dear lady. What about the cows killed in the name of religion? What is your opinion on that?

    • 13
      2

      Dear Jam,

      Do not get the issues jammed.

      If you are against meat industry cruelty. Take that fight elsewhere. You have my support. Most likely Ajita’s too.

      This article deals with the issue of elephant abuse in our country in the name of Buddhism.

      Cheers!

  • 5
    1

    This is a story that I have heard of the beginning of the Kandy Perehara. The time the tooth relic was kept at Anuradhapura long before it was brought to Kandy, there had been an exposition of the tooth relic with a parade in the months of July/August with elephants on parade. July/August are the driest months of the year in the NCP where in the olden days there had been droughts and famines persistent. The exposition of the Tooth relic during this period and the parade drew crowds that brought about rain. When crowds congregate in large numbers it has been observed that rain occurs, most likely due to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This strengthened the belief of the Religious minded, that the exposition of the tooth relic during the driest months of the year brings about the much needed rains. So once the Tooth relic was brought to Kandy the practice of the parade continued as a ritual for the Tooth relic. Further the last King of Kandy made the pageant more attractive by engaging the four Devalas also to participate.

    • 9
      1

      “When crowds congregate in large numbers it has been observed that rain occurs, most likely due to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. “

      when you constrain the movement of animals they belch and fart causing the Co2
      Kangaroos,Deer do not belch and fart but Cows do.;)

      Elephants can predict a tsunami,solar eclipse, but they do not have a library or museum.
      cheers;)

  • 14
    7

    Thank you Ajita for having the courage to write about this horrible pracctice in our country. In the name of religion & tradition.

    Silent suffering of the elephant is heart breaking. It is nothing, but animal abuse of the worst sort. Time has come to stand up for the innocent elephant.

    Cheers!

    PS: If you live in Colombo please quit patronizing Gangaramaya and Podi Hamudduruwo. His dealings with abused elephants and the Navam Circus is a disgrace to Buddhism.

  • 7
    7

    In a country where daily cows ,fowl ,pigs are killed how come this question of cruelty to elephants have suddenly made head lines. True the IMF and world bank development programmes of deforestation have created a problem for the elephants and other wild animals. Domesticated animals be it cows or horses or elephants are used in agriculture, religeous festivals from time immemorial. This is least of the problems . This unfortunately is another propaganda tool of the foreign and local NGOs christians against the buddhists and in India against the hindus.

  • 13
    0

    This has to be banned….FAST. Zoos have to be banned too. Human invasion into their natural habitat must cease. Politicians have to stop exploiting our forests.

  • 13
    3

    It is high time for people to realize Perehera is 1) Absolutely not a Buddhist event as Buddha never taught such rubbish. 2) Cruelty to all sentient beings have to stop, be it at the circus, race track, hunting and of course for food.

  • 8
    3

    I agree with the writer that elephants should not be used in peraheras. But why focus on peraheras alone? Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps she does ask for an end to animal sacrifice in Hindu kovils, for an end to caging of animals in zoos, for a ban on slaughterhouses and so on.

  • 4
    9

    Ours is a Buddhist Country. Opinions are tolerated. Buddhists will decide if remedial measures need to be taken with regard to elephants in Buddhist and cultural ceremonies. We do not need deluded fundamentalists/evangelicals to interfere in this regard.

    • 12
      1

      Chandra,

      Correction. Ours is a multi-religious country.

      Buddhists have already decided. They agree with Ajita. Elephant abuse in the name of perehera must be stopped.

      Problem is self-decalred fake Buddhists and racist lunatics such as yourself suffer from conspiracy theory based nightmares. Quit being so insecure.

      Stand up for the innocent elephant. Show that you have balls.

      Cheers!

    • 7
      7

      It should be ours is a buddhist country but they dont tolerate the views of others as taught in buddhism. Just see it right at these days, even if they the rulers or the people want to have passed good bills, there are masses that show signficant resistance. This nature has been from that day on… going back to my AlEVEL days – where Dawala Pathrikawa was introduced… JVPers and all others rejected it as no other counterparts inthe region. Lanken peoples power is entwined with their lack of knowledge. Their average knowledge about the world politics is relatively lower.
      I thought before moving to Europe, ours are a tolerable society, but now I feel, lankens in general dont want to tolerate other religious adherents. Monks take the law to their hand as is not the in Thailand. The law prevailing in the country does not seem to work on the buddhist Monks. Buddhist monks attack policemen and women in public. They the society has placed them on a place – they are everything in this society. but the reality is that the average of Monks behave even worst than the lay people.
      The best example is Magalama Monk – is a born thug. Would do anything to protect his temple but not respecting the law prevailing.
      My thinking is srilankens in gernals should be fed with rightful informatona bout hte rights of all – we are all srilankens, we should also have the same rights regardless of the majoratarian or minorotarian divisions. Basta

      • 6
        0

        “It should be ours is a buddhist country but they dont tolerate the views of others as taught in buddhism.”

        we are all awaiting to see you wash clean and dry.

        sanskrit: buddhism. english wisdom.
        sanskrit : puddhu. english dull-witted.

        it’s pudduism the ass on the plum in your country.

        how could the same minds that created it reform it?

        YOU NEVER COME RIGHT AGAIN.

    • 10
      1

      Chandra

      “Ours is a Buddhist Country.”

      Is it really, and since when? Could you provide a working definition of Buddhist Country.

      “Opinions are tolerated.”

      Really? Why were Lasantha and many others bumped off in broad daylight and white vanned?

      “Buddhists will decide if remedial measures need to be taken with regard to elephants in Buddhist and cultural ceremonies.”

      Who are these Buddhists and where do they live? Please name a few.

      Perhaps you are confused, there is a lot of difference between Buddhists and Sinhala/Buddhists.

      • 0
        6

        Really? Why were Lasantha and many others bumped off in broad daylight and white vanned?

        Dumb kallathoni Native Veddo:

        You are mixng, buddhism, country and politics.

        It is you dummies who talks about separating religion and politics.

        Why don’t you separte religion from politics and talk about crucifying traitors to the country ?

  • 6
    6

    Ajita,

    Did you write to UK government to stop horse racing, to Spanish government to stop bull fighting. Thai government to stop cock fighting. Have you done anything to stop animal sacrifices done by non-Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Have you preached to carnivorous people to become vegetarians. Have you stopped consuming any food produced using cows milk obtained by denying the milk to calves. [Edited out]

  • 4
    4

    I may be wrong I got a picture while Ajitha was writhing perhaps next to blue swimming pool lying on nice comfort beach chair top of the thin cut green grass the Palm trees try to cover the blue sky sip of red wine…Then thinking what nice environment and the beauty God has given so what’s the contribution or may be what personally I can do with bit guilt …it’s obvious true nature.

    But reality in mother nature is different in parliment passing some bill for serious concern with the west.

    Drinking water with chemicals people don’t know what their next meal is and from where.little children have to do their studies in school under the tree,lack of malnutrition,lot of schools don’t have teachers,lot of households don’t have basic needs,clothing etc lists goes on these don’t comes to media often we need foreign investments we deeply on them now so these are not the topic of the day.

    Pls lot of families rely on the tourists in order to survive.they have to fight for end meets.

    I didn’t mention the elderly very sad.

    Try to save the horses where all the sheikes have fun.

    Am a Hindu by the way God Ganesh may bless them.happy mother lanka.
    ,

  • 6
    7

    This is just a anti-buddist view and i do not think the writer has any sympathy for animals. In that case there are much worse effected animals to talk about. Moreover if one want to raise an elephant as pet what is wrong with it ? perhaps such person would have more commitment to the cause than the cats and dogs ordinary people raise at homes and often dump in temples and roads when they do not want them.

    I suggest her to study more about elephants. I have heard and read that elephants when domesticated are very human friendly and they even develop emotional bond with owners and its care-takers. Occasionally they get angry when then feel their bond is disturbed or threatened. Elephants have been used in domestic and commercial uses for hundreds of years and i do not think that they suffer due to these uses. For example, i think a horse would suffer in captivity than an elephant! In case if elephants feel any suffering they become physically violent and easy to recognize. I heard elephants are very emotional animals which could read human emotions well.

    This is just a mere part of the propaganda to slowly eliminate buddist-cultural foundation of Sri Lanka.

  • 3
    1

    Yes Mr. Native Vedda, “stop eating flesh”! I agree with you! Now, you can hand over your bow and arrow to the museum!

    • 7
      0

      Diogenes

      “Now, you can hand over your bow and arrow to the museum!”

      FYI, I am a vegan and a teetotaler, by choice.

      Already my people have been confined to museam (pockets of this island) leave alone bow and arrow.

  • 4
    9

    Considering what happens to animals during halal and some of the Hindu festivals, Perahera is rather mild by comparison. Even for “Eid”, the tradition is to slaughter a goat or lamb. So the reality is that these elephants have it better than most other animals in SL. I also disagree with the elephants being in distress. If the bond is good with the caretaker/provider, the procession is a small nuisance.

  • 5
    15

    Traditionally, elephants used to be transported at night when it was far cooler, and only for short distances during the day – I think that already happens, with them being cooled down by water throughout the journey. Going in lorries must be quite a relief for them.

    Being manacled would not have the same meaning as humans being manacled. Indeed elephants would welcome it, knowing that they will be well fed, together with the friendship and bonding with humans, that is part of their genetic makeup – friendship between man and beast is an ancient and sincere art, starting when the elephant is usually very young.

    Positive reinforcement training by humans prepare them for the perahera. The whacking with sticks being only slightly felt as the elephant has a thick skin. Mosquitos they will feel, as the mosquito proboscises break into the skin and is quite irritating (although it probably would not have the same intense itch as humans have). A flat stick would be a nudge. Bull-hooks of course should never be used – doubt they are used to train Perahera elephants to walk in processions , the same way they are used in circuses to do unnatural stunts.

    It doesn’t lose much heat through its skin, so extra cloth on it, doesn’t make it extra hot. Indeed, in the daytime, and extra cloth covering will protect its skin from the sun. The ears are covered, but the elephant removes excess heat by flapping its ears, and this they are able to do as the cloth is not tight around the ears, and probably the cloth is not behind the ears. Not sure if they have mid-day Peraheras, but if they do, the elephant probably would not perform so well.

    The elephant has a limited range of vision, and are led on by skilled Mahouts. Elephants are much larger than horses, and can carry up to 25% its body weight. They are exercised and given frequent training and can withstand excess weights.

    The glowing torches will be part and parcel of the human bond and pride of pageantry. Elephants know the Perehara time is a special time for them. The many straps, belts and buckles will not hamper itheir mobility as they are tied under their stomachs. As per the noise, elephants usually bellow in each other ears, and so the cacophony of the human variety is not new to them.

    Their cellular DNA will know that the many humans around them is part and parcel sharing the planet with humans. And elephants in the Perehara, have a strong bond with their Mahouts, and generally love human adulation.

    Of course there should be higher standard of care used for the Perahera elephants. The level of care has to be increased and monitored. Manacles shouldn’t be tight around the legs so they will cut into the flesh. It’s not their parading at the Perahera that is the problem, but the conditions of their keep and stay during the festival. Therefore more funding allowed by GoSL and temple organizations for their comfort and health.

    • 11
      0

      ramona grandma therese fernando

      “Indeed elephants would welcome it, knowing that they will be well fed, together with the friendship and bonding with humans, that is part of their genetic makeup – friendship between man and beast is an ancient and sincere art, starting when the elephant is usually very young. “

      When and where did you learn to be an Elephant Whisperer? Perhaps at “Out of Africa Wildlife Park”, Camp Verde, Arizona.

      • 1
        10

        It is obviously so that elephants love humans. Baby elephants are especially cute.

        • 3
          0

          Crusader ආරක්ෂකයෙකු,

          And if one green bottle should accidentally fall,

          There’ll be none ra_mone grandma green bottles hanging on the wall.

          Wenda Wetenawa

  • 5
    7

    Well what are these well meaning good people who love Sri Lanka so munch want to do ? Yes go ahead, stop having elephants at the perahera. STOP THE PERAHERA. Go on looking at amazement at the parades of the Queen of England- her horse carriage or the equestrian event at the Olympics! After all it is the Sudda and his greatness cannot do any wrong! No horses were harmed, pushed and whipped. Sudda loves all animals. Cannot do any wrong. Go on live in the old colonial days, brown nose him! When he say ‘stop the Perahera!’ Go ahead and say ‘Yes sir’.
    Why are these NGOs not paying any attention to treatment of horses? Yes the Sudda’s horses? Not a word! You fools go brown nose / live in the Sudda’s pukka!

    • 8
      1

      anotherbuddhist

      You must be another Sinhala/Buddhist who cannot think straight on one’s own or confine your typing to the main discussion.

      Are we discussing Sudda’s country or this island’s animal welfare? Make up your mind when you start typing next time.

      • 2
        9

        Native Clown
        Which planet are you living? There is an internet /social media attempt focused on only the abuse of elephants directed at Asian tourism and also specifically Sri Lanka. So still living in suddage puke ! These well orchestrated political champions hard for a clown to understand.

      • 1
        7

        Kallathoni NAtuive Vedda:

        Are you from CT editorail board because you want to control what others write ?

        that is typical Tamil psyche.

        they think every one should do what they want.

      • 2
        8

        Native clown

        Which planet are you living? There is a concerted campaign focused on the abuse of elephants on internet / social media. This is directed at Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Asian nations. In Sri Lanka it is associated with the on going attack on Buddhism. It is also directed at tourism / to reduce visitor numbers etc.
        Where is the international outcry against the abuse of horses in the racing industry / equestrian sports? A native or otherwise clown would not see this / allow a discussion on this topic!

    • 3
      10

      Elephants have a long and storied history. The Indian emperor Porus used 85 elephants to confront Alexander the Great at the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC. They were also used as war machines, by Hannibal, to cross the Alps. In India, they were used by the reigning British to flaunt the ill-begotten wealth stolen from the brown “sahibs.” In Africa they have been plundered for their ivory tusks and are nearly extinct. So, to claim that using elephants for a small parade (Perahera) is cruel, is a rather simplistic view. Elephants can survive harsh conditions and defend themselves quite well, as we know from wild elephants. You will not get an elephant to march peacefully without treating it well.

      • 7
        2

        Cowboy County Browni just stick to freedom and liberty. don’t pollute seas.
        the seagull is a protected bird ;
        elephants are not for consumption (does anyone eat do_dol ??)
        they can be protected we could take it from there
        than your orthodox view

        • 1
          8

          Stick to your goats and camels, thambi. Simple animals for simple minds. Buddhists don’t cut an elephants throat while it is facing some desert. No doubt your Imams would feast on the elephant if they could. Only the pig is forbidden, even though the greatest pig was PB himself.

          • 8
            2

            WhoooooHoo,

            half baked brown economic refugee from madda kalapuva,

            afraid to take a walk in park for fear of being shot like deer.
            your black president can’t do won’t do.

            ho ho. try michael jackson skin graft and blood transfusion.

            • 3
              6

              Your English is of the lowest quality; maybe you spent your youth memorizing holy verses in Arabic? Another great tradition from the desert; add that to halal, beheading, and 24 wives. By the way, I am in Europe, not North America.

              • 9
                2

                And open defecation has significant health and nutritional consequences.
                double speak.

                • 0
                  0

                  Open defecation is what your refugee brothers do in the camps in Greece and Paris. They survive on Christian charity, thanks to the Wahhabi madness of your imams.

  • 3
    1

    Owning elephants is a status symbol. Although Lankan elephants are endangered the former government produced census figures to justify capture. Elephant calves were captured and kept illegally – some presented to foreign dignitaries to curry favour at UNHCR sessions. More than 50% died. GoSL turned a blind eye.

    Elephants in perahera is a very old tradition. This cannot be banned point blank and the demand certainly not PC.

    If capture of elephants, specially calves, is banned then perhaps in fifty years elephants may not be domesticated as is the practice now.

    • 9
      1

      the process is on to ban bull fighting at spain which is part of tradition. Ironically a bull recently gorged the matador to death at madrid- this has not happened for a long time. Spain is in economical crisis and the rich northern EU would force a ban soon.

      elephants and ants can predict a solar eclipse. elephants can predict a tsunami.

      higanno, begging bowl nation of the old rogue buddha when the lender bank imposes on the government the ban would come soon after bullfighting is banned.
      Beef is eaten but not elephant meat to torture.

    • 0
      3

      It may be a status symbol now. In the ancient times, even the rural temples had their own tusker or tuskers. Now only major temples can look after elephants.

  • 5
    0

    Great article. I myself enjoyed the parade during my childhood and it was a memorable event. Now that I am an adult I see the pain and suffering of these majestic beings. It is not right. Appreciate the tradition but is is time to evolve and change our thinking. Additionally, there is so much money and jobs involved in this parade that has families and generations depending on this being their life long commitment to be care giver. It is a tough and sensitive subject. I know that I would never see a Perahera again. If less people participate and less incentive to continue this parade. Let’s do something.

    • 1
      6

      Human populations are expanding beyond the availability of natural resources to sustain their numbers. Naturally, you’ll have some conflict between humans and animals, particularly when it comes to humans claiming dominance over the living space. One of the bizarre consequences of this conflict is that animals not taken into captivity may go extinct. Having established that captivity is a necessary evil, one must then come up with creative ways to keep the animals occupied. Training an elephant to take part in a fairly sophisticated cultural event is one example. Better for the elephant to stroll unrestricted among masses of humans, then run around in a circular hole while tourists snap pictures, like we see at the Dehiwala Zoo. I am sure those poor tiger chaps are half senile by now. This is not the motivation for using elephants at the Perahera, but it is a logical argument.

      • 8
        2

        Power hungry and chasing ambulances like DJ,?
        You must be born for that even at sri lanka to be the 10% unpatriotic.
        Stop farting fisherman.

        • 1
          5

          The elephants in Syria are having a better time than your Sunni brothers in Aleppo. Every fart equals 10 dead rats! I am cheering for Russia these days.

          • 3
            1

            illusion.
            you are the elephant on the thread.

            • 0
              0

              500,000 dead Syrians (all Muslims), how many dead elephants in Sri Lanka? Study Buddhism if you want to know about illusion.

  • 0
    2

    [Edited out]

  • 7
    2

    Please do not misread my comment,

    I do not in any way wish to condone the way The poor elephants are handled. But this is very much like the rest of the hypocrisies cried by many so called animal lovers around the world and the so called great advocate of women rights and human rights advocates .

    It is okay to kill pigs and fish and particular species of animals in any cruel manner , let it be for food or just for rituals , It is okay, for some these are lesser sacred species , dogs are man’s best friend so more voice is given but hardly any action ,one can see the number of dogs suffering and dying every day on the roads , especially if they are female they are just dumped on the road side, cats are considered evil and useless by some folks so they do not even have a voice ,they are considered not worth letting them the right even to exist, then for so-called modern women to get parts of their labia removed surgically ,it becomes aesthetic , but when the African tribes do it it becomes FGM ,female genetical mutilation.

    When it comes to terrorizing and whipping tigers and lions in a circus it becomes entertainment .

    Why so much of hypocrisy to hide your prejudice ?

    Why not jointly come up with solutions of alternatives, like to handle the elephants in a more gentle and humane manner , help the tribal people by setting up safe surgical units to continue their rituals ,its their rights as much as you feel what is your rights, same with our Buddhist rituals , its our rights and if there is something that you feel is not right , please come up with alternatives to correct the right but not deny our rights , you may need to look into a lot of abuses that is happening around the world to animals and human being by the so called civilized countries before pointing fingers at poor nations, which is nothing but laughable.

    I think the most hypocrisy is used to hide prejudice today is seen among those who cry too loud in the name of animal rights &human rights .

  • 5
    4

    Brilliant article Ajitha, God bless you!

  • 3
    1

    Ajita, for credibility and comprehensiveness you could have also covered horse racing, horse riding, fishing,caviar hunting, camel racing, bullcart racing (in negombo), etc etc.

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