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CAMPAIGNERS delivered a total of three million signatures to Theresa May today, calling for urgent action to save endangered Asian elephants.
Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) handed in several similar petitions, including its own, which featured 200,000 signatures in support of new laws banning advertisements for unethical holidays that involve elephants being subjected to vicious “training.”
The campaign group said that many Asian elephants are poached from the wild as babies and subjected to cruel and brutal training called “pajan,” which means to “break the spirits.”
To train the animals for use in tourist attractions such as elephant rides, circuses and parades, they are isolated in a wooden cage, starved and dehydrated, then beaten and stabbed to render them completely submissive.
STAE said that the pajan process is so violent it is believed that more than half of the young elephants subjected to it die during or after the training.
Group founder and chief executive Duncan McNair told the Star: “The Asian elephants are highly endangered.
“They suffer brutal treatment. They are captured from wild as babies, hit and beaten and stabbed in crushing cages to break their spirits for use in tourism, a very great deal of it from the West.
“Western companies, including UK interests, are making big money out of the terrible suffering of the Asian elephant.”
Mr McNair said STAE was at Downing Street “to ask the government to introduce a law to ban the advertising of unethical holidays involving Asian elephants.
“We are also asking for other measures, such as a proper dialogue between the UK and India to stop the brutal treatment of captive Asian elephants and to create a new model elephant sanctuary in India.”
He added: “It is all made by man and it can all be corrected by man and it needs to be before it's too late.
“The Asian elephant, beaten, broken and exhausted, is nearly at the end of its long journey. It is standing now at the edge of its very existence.”
Mr McNair said that Ms May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove could not claim to lead the world in animal welfare “when they permit UK-based companies to profit from the brutal abuse of the remaining Asian elephants.”
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