THRISSUR: The elephant owners and festival organisers, who were obliged to strictly follow the guidelines of both the Central and State governments in parading elephants in festivals and other events, have been given a breather by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest MoEF), according to reports on Friday. MoEF, in a communication to K B Ganesh Kumar MLA, president of the Kerala Elephant Owners Federation (KEOF), has mentioned that Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001 will not be applicable to the use of elephants in religious, social and cultural functions.
The letter, on the other hand, has mentioned that provisions of Wildlife (Protection), 1972, Kerala Captive Elephant (Management and Maintenance) Rules 2003 and the 2008 guidelines for care and management of captive elephants are to be followed strictly.
Speaking to Express, P Sasikumar, general secretary of KEOF, said this will be a nod against the 2001 rule of ordering all animal owners to strictly register with Animal Welfare Board of India, working under MoEF. The MoEF letter, according to Sasikumar, would be an answer too to the letter KEOF had sent to the concerned minister in last March on the problems faced by the animal owners in getting certifications from AWBI before parading them in festivals.
It’s also a hint of the Union government on its stand on the issue, for which a case is pending with the Supreme Court, he said, adding that the debatable issue before the SC would be of the cruelty inflicted on elephants when they are paraded.