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Indian temple uses lifelike robotic elephant for rituals to prevent cruelty

A temple in Kerala on Saturday (June 22) introduced a lifelike robotic elephant to be used in rituals in an effort to prevent animal cruelty.

The mechanical elephant was donated by the animal rights group PETA to the Pournamikavu Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The three-metre-tall, 800 kg mechanical elephant, called Baladhasan, can move its ears and tail.

It was given “in recognition of the temple’s decision never to own or hire live elephants” and “will be used to conduct ceremonies at the temple in a safe and cruelty-free manner,” PETA India said.

Kerala’s laws make it mandatory for elephants to have at least 12 hours of rest after parading for five hours, and five hours of rest after traveling. But elephants often suffer in captivity due to harsh training and poor living conditions.

There have been cases in the past when elephants used for temple ceremonies ran amok, damaging properties and injuring or killing people.


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