David Anderson – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by David Anderson on 2015-11-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will raise with the Prime Minister of India during his forthcoming visit the welfare of elephants being trained to work in the tourism industry in that country.

Mr Hugo Swire

We are aware of reports that elephants in use in the tourist industry in India have been captured as calves and then beaten and mistreated. This practice is illegal in India. UK officials have had discussions on this issue with Save The Asian Elephant (STAE).

The UK is committed to conserving Asian elephants and recognises the growing threats to their populations, including from the cross-border, illegal trade in live animals to feed the demand by the tourist and entertainment industries. The UK has been working internationally through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in discussion with elephant range states, including India, to increase protection for Asian elephants. We secured agreement in 2014 for elephant range states to put in place measures to prevent illegal trade in live elephants.

We are very much looking forward to Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit, which gives us an opportunity to discuss a range of issues. We will continue to work together with the Indian authorities, as well as STAE and other non-governmental organisation, on protecting elephants.