KATHMANDU: As many as 10 companies reportedly are ending their sponsorship for the annual Chitwan Elephant Festival after video footage of handlers viciously beating elephants during the festival became public.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Asia, sponsors of the 15th edition of the festival — Renault, MINISO, Carlsberg Group (maker of Tuborg beer and Somersby cider), United Beverage (maker of Pulpy), Mega Bank, Kumari Bank, JGI (maker of Ruslan Vodka), Chaudhary Group (maker of Wai Wai noodles), Everest Insurance, and Hotel Seven Star — have announced that they’re ending their association with the festival after viewing footage of elephants being repeatedly abused by handlers.
In the festival, elephants were hit and jabbed with bullhooks (spear-like weapons with a sharp hook on one end), sticks, and makeshift wooden knives — on their heads and behind their sensitive ears to force them into subservience in order to make them race, give rides, and “play” football and polo, a statement issued by PETA Asia reads.
The elephants had eye injuries, deep bloody wounds around heads and ears, the statement quotes an eye witness as saying.
“Deeply sensitive and intelligent elephants are being used as punching bags at this despicably cruel event,” says PETA Senior Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker. “PETA is calling for an end to the festival and urging companies to cut ties with this spectacle of suffering immediately.”
Just last year, a PETA investigation into the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok caused numerous companies to end their sponsorships, and the event later shut down.
Two other sponsors have yet to take any action regarding the cruelty against elephants in the festival, the statement further reads.