Elephants playing football, elephants with hoops, elephants painting – these kind of shows are often visited with tourists in Thailand. But many people don’t see the abuse that the animals suffer – until now.
This video, taken by a tourist at the Namuang Safari Park in Ko Samui, shows the horrific treatment elephants must endure for the sake of ‘entertainment’. The shock of the crowd as the trainer smashes his metal bull-hook into the elephant’s head is clearly heard.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Elephants are not ‘domesticated’, meaning that before they can perform in this kind of show, they must be ‘broken’. The ‘Phajaan’, or ‘Crush’ is a horrific ritual that is carried out on every baby elephant before it is trained for shows or elephant trekking.
We understand that tourism is vital for the many elephants, and their trainers, in Thailand, as they would otherwise be unemployed. But as tourists, we cannot accept this kind of abuse of an animal for entertainment.
We are calling on the Tourism Authority of Thailand to:
* Denounce elephant shows in which elephants are abused in this way
* Refuse to promote ANY venue where this kind of performance is held
* Demand that the promotion of cruel elephant shows by tour operators and travel agents carrying the TAT logo is stopped.
* Implement a Code of Practice for activities involving elephants
The elephant is meant to be revered by the Thai people, but these shows are a sign of disrespect and should be stopped. Tourists will always wish to see elephants, but it must be done in a way that does not involved the Phajaan or abusive treatment.