One of the questions raised by Naveen Cariappa in our film "Elephants in the Coffee" is about the value of life. He says the government seems to value elephant life more than human life.
As I review stories about elephants, I certainly see more pathos raised about the death of elephants. Of course, I am reading posts in English, which may reflect a Western view. For those who live far away from the people affected, the elephants may seem more important.
In a recent article in The Hindu, the writer refers to a person in Karnataka who was killed by an elephant. The Forest Department promises compensation of 5 lahks, or about $7,400 to the family. Residents and neighbors, however, demand a permanent solution to the "elephant menance."
So to the government, the value on human life is about $7,400. What would be the fine if an elephant were killed? In Kenya, the fine would be about $185,000. In Sri Lanka, the penalty would be death.
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Dr. Thomas Grant
Professor of Journalism at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College