On the occasion of World Elephant Day on August 12, actor Neil Nitin Mukesh is raising awareness about the suffering of the animal, often used for tourist joyrides.
In his second campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, Neil is seen lifting a blindfold from his eyes, next to the words: "Don’t be blind to their suffering. Elephants used for rides are beaten and chained."
Neil said: "When I was child, I used to enjoy going on … elephant rides. Then one day, an incident happened. I saw the elephant being ill-treated which affected me as a child.
"Since childhood, we have been getting Lord Ganesha at home, so it was hypocritical and contradictory. We worship Lord Ganesha (yet) we torture the animal we worship. So it started off from there."
The Wazir actor added that "somewhere personally, it came to me where I thought this needs to be voiced".
A PETA-commissioned investigation of elephant training in Nepal and an Animal Welfare Board of India-authorised inspection of elephants used for rides in Jaipur has revealed that these animals endure constant physical and emotional abuse.
When they are just two years old, baby elephants are torn away from their mothers and are either tied up between trees with heavy chains and ropes or are confined to a tiny wooden enclosure.