January 17, 2009
Traditional elephants a no-go at parade
For the first time in 30 years, elephants will not be part of the annual military parade in New Delhi, an Indian official says.
An Indian Defense Ministry spokesman identified only as D. Mohanty said this year's ban on elephants was prompted by security concerns raised during last year's event in the Indian capital, the BBC reported Friday.During last year's parade, two elephants nearly stampeded while approaching the president's platform, Mohanty said.
But the Defense Ministry official said the decision to remove the pachyderms from the parade also is a response to animal rights concerns.
Besides, for four years now animal activists have demanded a ban on the use of elephants, Mohanty said.
These two reasons forced the government to decide against their use from this year.
The BBC said children who typically ride the elephants in recognition of acts of bravery will instead enjoy jeep rides during the parade.