Tribhuvan International Airport Refuses to Run Charity Ad Urging People to Avoid Exploitative Event

For Immediate Release:
October 10, 2019

Kathmandu – As part of their campaign to get the Chitwan Elephant Festival shut down, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Animal Rights Club (ARC) attempted to place a billboard at the Tribhuvan International Airport showing an abused elephant next to the words “Beaten. Jabbed. Wounded. The Chitwan Elephant Festival is cruel. Don’t go!” But the company representing the airport, Smart Media and Technologies, rejected the ad, saying that the airport authority would not approve the message.

PETA obtained video footage recorded at the most recent Chitwan Elephant Festival showing handlers repeatedly hitting and jabbing elephants on their heads and sensitive ears with bullhooks (spear-like weapons with a sharp hook at one end), sticks, and makeshift wooden knives in order to force them to race, give rides, and “play” football and polo. Many of the animals had sustained deep, bloody wounds around their heads and ears. A young girl was seen covering her mouth in shock after witnessing an elephant calf being hit with a stick.

“Tourists deserve to know that intelligent, sensitive elephants were beaten bloody at the Chitwan Elephant Festival,” says ARC founder Surajan Shrestha. “Tribhuvan International Airport’s censorship will only motivate PETA and ARC to work even harder to get this despicable, shameful event shut down.”

In response to PETA’s damning video footage, all former sponsors have pulled their support of the festival. A number of companies, including Eco Holiday Nepal, Eyes on Nepal, Nepal Tours, Pro Nepal Tours, Thamel Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd., Yeti Travels, Hop Nepal, and Nepal Footprint Holiday have also stopped promoting the festival.

The previous coordinator of the Chitwan Elephant Festival, Suman Ghimire, is the president of the Nepal Elephant Game Association. The association is overseen by the Nepal Sports Council, which plans to fund the event and can be contacted on (01) 4261873.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”. Photographs and broadcast-quality video footage from the investigation are available upon request. For more information, please visit