On 25th February 2024, a High Court in Bangladesh suspended the issuing and renewal of licenses to take elephants from the wild and exploit them. Justice Naima Haider and Justice Kazi Zeenat Haque passed the order following a preliminary hearing requested by People for Animal Welfare (PAW) and Bangladeshi film actor Jaya Ahsan to stop the abduction of wild elephants to be brutally exploited.

Poaching and habitat loss have led to a sharp decline in elephant numbers in the country, prompting authorities to declare elephants critically endangered. However, almost half of the 200 elephants in Bangladesh are kept in captivity employed in circuses or used for begging on the streets. The Forestry Department issued licenses for the use of elephants to logging groups who would use the animals to haul logs, but they ended up exploited in circuses and the streets. The court said such exploitation broke the terms of the licences.

In a tweet, the film actress, model, producer and playback singer Jaya Ahsan, said, “Thank you Barrister Saqeb Mahbub and The Team! You are such a good soul. Hope your work will show the dawn to the Elephants!”

Rakibul Haque Emil, head of the animal welfare organisation PAW, said to the Independent, “This is a landmark order. In the name of training elephants, private licensees including circus parties brutally separate elephant calves from their mother, shackle them for months and then torture them to teach tricks…We hope it is the end of hadani in Bangladesh.”

In May 2023 a young elephant, used for begging on the streets, was killed by a train, which promoted a renewal of calls to stop the exploitation of elephants across the nation. In 2019, two emaciated elephants were rescued by police after being used for roadside begging.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.