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Kerala

In the good old days, most Hindus did not eat meat, however, things changed after people from India began migrating to western countries. People can eat whatever they want, but the audaciousness of religious institutions to feed meat to a herbivorous animal, that too a cultural icon glorified as the embodiment of Lord Ganesh, is simply intolerable.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a reemerging disease in captive elephants, with increasing numbers of cases reported in the past two
When will it stop? That's the question many of us in the animal rights movement are trying to grapple with, as the death toll of elephants in Kerala continues to rise. In just over eight months, 16 captive and five wild elephants have died due to human interference -- that is more than two elephants a month.
We were in the South, in Kerala; and just getting ready to leave Munnar -- a tiny hill station where we'd spent a couple of days. We were headed for Cochin. There we'd spend our last, remaining day, until it was time to catch our flight to Mumbai -- and yet another flight back home.
As expected, the release of Gods in Shackles, a culturally sensitive documentary, has angered temple authorities, owners and brokers who abuse elephants to make money. Sadly, instead of trying to right the wrong, they are denying the truth and putting out misleading information to confuse the public.
The harsh reality is, violations are ultimately costing the lives of poor people. Their families are suffering, elephants are suffering and it's becoming clearer now than ever before that use of elephants is a no win situation. It's time to prevent unnecessary loss of people's lives, by releasing these elephants into a sanctuary where they can roam freely.
It's paradoxical that people in Kerala mourn and light candles after elephants die; it seems like a superficial display of compassion. If they genuinely loved elephants they would revere and respect the elephants when they are alive, and stop exploiting them in festivals and temples under the guise of culture and religion.
The fate of an elephant named Thiruvambadi Ramabadhran hangs in the balance. His trunk is paralyzed. Unable to eat or drink he stands helplessly, as his handlers are engaged in their own chats. To make matters worse, he has contracted infectious foot and skin diseases, and has been placed in solitary confinement.
December is a particularly torturous season for the more than 700 elephants of Kerala, but a profitable one for their owners and brokers, with the festival season kicking off across the state. Sadly these animals are paraded even during their musth -- an annual cycle when the bulls are in their peak mating season.
India has a moral obligation to save this global treasure. But sadly, elephants are being captured illegally from the wild for the illicit ivory trade, and exploited commercially. Elephants are a keystone species, which means the survival of other species in the forest ecosystem depends on the elephants