Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), an autonomous advisory body under Government of India, has submitted an inspection report regarding Thrissur Pooram 2016. However, the report was first published on the website of PETA, an American organisation that works with animal rights NGOs that have been pursuing a smear campaigning against the people of Kerala. Some of these activists malign elephant lovers in Kerala as ‘Animal torturers’ and detest the ancient culture of Elephant rearing and temple festivals.
It is entirely reasonable to doubt the intentions of AWBI and PETA after reading the report because most of the ‘evidence’ for ‘torture’ cited in the report are exaggerated and false as well. Anyone who has a strong understanding of the centuries-old elephant rearing practices of Kerala can confirm the same.
The dubious and objectionable reports compiled by AWBI are cited as proof by the dollar collecting NGOs to paint Kerala as the land of bigoted animal torturers.
Recently a Good Samaritan filed an RTI application regarding the report presented by AWBI after Thrissur Pooram 2016. The reply he got had some interesting information. It said the AWBI inspectors had drawn up two reports about Thrissur Pooram 2016. But as far as we know, only one report was published. This raises the question about what happened to the second report.
What was the necessity to make two separate reports with two different teams for the same event?
Above all, the Board seems completely clueless about the qualifications of the people they sent to examine and advise on the management of elephants.
The board that appointed Honourary Animal Welfare Officers have no idea about their skills to do the job.
That brings us to some pertinent questions which AWBI must answer.
1. What is the status of the report submitted by AWBI? How did a US NGO like PETA have access to it?
2. Where is the second report drawn up by the inspectors?
3. How truthful would be a report prepared by a biased set of inspectors?
4. How accurate would be a report prepared by a set of people with no precise qualifications and no empathy towards the people and the centuries old practices of the land?