Carlsberg India drops elephant polo

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2011:

JAIPUR,  India-– The most prominent elephant polo tournament in India,  scheduled for August 21,  2011 in Jaipur,  was cancelled just days before it was to be held when the major backer,  the brewery Carlsberg India Pvt. Ltd.,  withdrew sponsorship.

The annual tournament was begun in 2006 by Elephant Family founder Mark Shand,  brother of the Duchess of Cornwall.  Using the match to demonstrate elephant handling without the traditional use of the ankus,  or “elephant hook,”  Shand and the Elephant Family donated the proceeds to a program to aid working elephants formerly operated by the Jaipur-based charity Help In Suffering.

Shand,  the Elephant Family,  and Help In Suffering discontinued their involvement after the tournament became controversial despite their emphasis on humane elephant handling. The tournament–and elephant polo generally–continued to attract protest from PETA-India,  People for Animals,  and Beauty Without Cruelty-India.

“We acknowledge the concerns raised,”  wrote Carlsberg India representative Rishi Wadhera to the dissenting organizations.  “After having heard and considered all viewpoints,  we have decided to stop our association with this event.  While we comprehend that these specific elephants were in no way being violated,”  Wadhera said, “we have decided to do the right thing.”

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