It seems that the harsh rays of the equatorial sun have frazzled the minds of some Sri Lankans over the seasonal holidays.
What better way than that to explain the exploits of a group of people who corralled a group of elephants and organised an elephant race. Under the unforgiving rays of the April sun, these majestic creatures had to suffer the ignominy of having a number slapped upon their forehead, mahout atop and made to run along a hot dusty road in the backwaters of Homagama all in the name of New Year celebrations.
For most, the elephant is a creature that is revered for his majestic nature. An animal that walked on earth since time immemorial has now been reduced to running races by a group of people who seemed to have little else to do with their time. The images carried in the newspaper showed men running behind the elephants beating them with sticks to make them run faster. The fury and anger etched on the humans’ faces was almost demonic while the poor pachyderm, unable to fathom any of this, looked utterly bewildered. To add to the degradation, the mahout was armed with his henduwa, the cudgel of cruelty, employing it to make the poor animal speed up.
It begs the questions as to what sort of perverse people take pleasure in racing elephants and other animals for the sake of entertainment.
What sort of signals are we giving the younger generation about treating animals?
What sort of laws do we have to protect our animals?
The time is ripe to re-examine the archaic laws we have relating to wildlife and change them so that it is the animals who are protected and not the humans who commit the crimes. One only has to see the news reports on the fines dished out to poachers to realise how little value the laws of this land place on animals when poachers who kill animals are just fined a couple of thousands and set free.
It is clearly evident that these laws need to be changed and harsher punishments meted out to people who are caught harassing, or killing animals. Our proud boast of a civilisation that spans centuries and claim to follow a philosophy that denounces violence against all living beings is seemingly at odds against the stark reality of modern day Sri Lanka where animals especially are treated with disdain and cruelty.
By Miss Seenical