Alpana Bhartia Says Rehabilitation of Circus Elephants is a Long Process

The classic Walt Disney feature Dumbo looks cute on the DVD cover, but reality speaks otherwise. Performing elephants in ‘cruelty-free’ circuses go through a heartbreaking ordeal to become ‘stars’ that circus-goers talk so fondly to their children about. As a matter of fact, ‘cruelty-free’ circus is an oxymoron. Newborn elephants are torn away from their mothers and are made to stand on hard concrete floor to break their spirit. Luckily, a recent communication made by Central Zoo Authority to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change will push circuses to stop the cruel subjugation of elephants. Animal rights activists like Alpana Bhartia from Bangalore-based People for Animals are lauding this spectacular move.

Even thought there are laws against animal cruelty, people are generally apathetic and ignorant when it comes to animal rights. Article 51A(g) states that it’s the fundamental duty of Indian citizens to be compassionate towards all living creatures, irrespective of their size or how dangerous they can be. Ill-treatment and physical abuse, including murder are punishable through IPC section 428 and 429. CZA figured that the water was too deep, as a result, they requested the state forest departments to cancel animal ownership license of circuses. As told by Alpana Bhartia, this will lay a strong foundation for the rehabilitation of elephants and other maltreated beasts-of-entertainment.

Alpana Bhartia(the wife of industrialist Alok Bhartia), is one of the founders of People for Animals, who believes animal rehabilitation is a difficult process since it’s not always possible to release the rescued into the wild. It’ll be a challenge for the Central Zoo Authority and state forest departments to breathe back in the spirit of these majestic creatures. Arpan Sharma, the director of Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization(FIAPO) thinks CZA’s initiative to be the most progressive move ever made by a government body.

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Animal shelters doing a commendable work, reckons Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA

We often ignore the sufferings of animals, who are repeatedly bearing the brunt of our careless attitude towards Nature. Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA (People for Animals) NGO, which works for the rescue and rehabilitation of animals and birds, says that it is our responsibility to end the sufferings and miseries of these animals.

At present, a lot of animals are being injured and tortured frequently. People are using them in circuses, putting them in cages and using them for their own benefit. But, in recent times, there has been a rise in the number of organizations which have come forward to help these animals. A member of one such organization, Alpana Bhartia is happy with the efforts put in by animal shelters across the country and hopes that they continue to put in the hard yards.

Animal shelters and NGOs across the country have been running a number of campaigns across India to educate people about the malpractices against animals and birds. A lot of seminars are conducted in various cities to bring this issue to the fore.

Apart from spreading awareness, these NGOs are actively rescuing injured animals, and ensuring their complete rehabilitation. Sometimes our own activities are causing injuries to these animals. But organizations like PFA have changed the scenario to quite an extent.

However, there are some issues faced by these rescuers themselves. One cannot overlook the need of funds. The requirement of funds keeps increasing with every day, and it is very important for these shelters to arrange money in advance. According to Alpana Bhartia, apart from funds, one of the major issues faced by these shelters is the continuity of volunteers. The network of volunteers keeps changing, as majority of them move on with their lives after spending some time with the organization.

In spite of all these problems, these organizations are doing a commendable job. A lot of animals are treated by these shelters daily. They have shared phone numbers for emergency cases and have their own network of logistics to bring these distressed and injured animals to the shelters.

Alpana Bhartia, an active member of PFA, believes that the network of these shelters can expand if people come forward and lend a helping hand to these NGOs for the betterment of our society.