Bulldozing a building, even one as small as a shack, takes a lot of work. It requires the power to crack through metal, wood, and concrete, which is why most people use heavy machinery. A bulldozer can’t feel the pain that comes from a jagged piece of metal — but an animal can. So why are Indian officials using elephants to tear down illegally built shacks?
Elephants are intelligent, sensitive animals who mourn their dead and show compassion for other living creatures, including humans. They may be strong, but they’re no match for iron and cement — and they can feel incredible pain when things go wrong, unlike a tractor.
The elephants in the hilly region once were forced to tow lumber for people, but the government made it illegal because of similar concerns for the animals’ well-being. But asking them to face up against sturdy man-made structures isn’t much better.
Even if the region is too hilly to bring traditional heavy machinery to the shacks, Indian officials must find another alternative to using the elephants like this.
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