PETA moots speed guns against trains that kill tuskers


New Delhi : Animal welfare NGO PETA has urged Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for use of speed-detection guns to catch train drivers who exceed the speed limit and end up mowing down elephants in the country’s reserves.

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The press statement by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) came days after seven elephants were killed by a speeding train in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.

“PETA has imported a speed-detection gun from the US and has offered to meet with officials from both ministries to demonstrate the device’s effectiveness in alerting monitors to speeding trains,” said a member of PETA.

The forest department has lodged an FIR under the Wildlife Protection Act against the Indian Railways, alleging that the train which killed the elephants Sep 22 was going at a high speed of about 70 km per hour.

In a letter to the ministers, PETA said: “Seven elephants were recently killed after being hit by a train in the Dooars, West Bengal. Multiple sources have reported that the train was travelling at an excessive speed of 70 km/hr.”

“Collisions between trains and elephants occur with staggering regularity, and there is a 100 percent mortality rate for the elephants who are directly hit.”

“These horrific elephant deaths aren’t just tragic accidents; they are the direct result of Indian Railways’ steadfast refusal to take serious steps to protect these animals.

“It’s high time Indian Railways joined hands with forest officials to ensure the safety of elephants, the animal it ironically uses as its mascot,” says Manilal Valliyate, PETA India director of veterinary affairs.

According to PETA, 150 elephants have been killed by trains since 1987.