Cruel elephant entertainment training exposed

Posted on 3 July 2020

World Animal Protection (WAP) is an international non-profit animal welfare organisation that has been active for over 30 years. The NPO works tirelessly to protect and conserve the globe’s wildlife.

Recently the organisation released footage of the traumatic physical and psychological damage that elephant calves undergo in preparation for tourist entertainment in Thailand and other countries.

Elephant riding and interactions were once a very popular thing to do in Thailand. In recent years though, this is no longer the case. There has been a global call to have these camps shut down based on the cruel and inhumane conditions that the animals are subjected to.

Elephant tourism is a disgraceful method of profits off an animal. Elephants are familial animals and to tear a calf away from its mother is unforgivable.

The videos captured by World Animal Protection have exposed just how cruel this trade is. In a statement, the organisation explained that these animals are subjected to ‘a lifetime of horror for a “once in a lifetime” holiday experience.’

‘There are approximately 2,800 captive elephants exploited in camps across Thailand who have undergone this cruel training. The harrowing footage was captured to document the most common practices used to break the elephants’ spirits, which is done using a range of techniques, including:

  • the use of a bullhook – a metal tool used to jab sensitive areas
  • chains to restrain them
  • frequent exposure to stressful situations

‘This horrific treatment of elephants is to make them submissive enough to be used for performing, riding, bathing, and other tourist interactions. The demand from tourism drives the demand for elephant experiences, and trainers are forced to deploy these methods.’

Baby elephants like this one are destined for a lifetime of trauma. Image credit: World Animal Protection

Audrey Mealia, the global head of wildlife at WAP said: ‘We are at a turning point when it comes to our relationship with wild animals.

‘The tourism industry has come to a halt in the wake of COVID-19 but it will re-build – this is the ideal opportunity to build a better future. We are calling on the tourism industry to revise their wildlife policies and stop offering exploitative experiences to their customers.

‘Right now, elephants are not being used for riding, bathing or shows. We’d like to keep it this way.’

If you would like to watch the video on how these animals are treated, click here. The footage contains sensitive content.

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tcat - Nature And Conservation
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tcat2 - Travel
tcat2_slug - travel
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