Thailand is a dream destination for many. This is because the country is home to gorgeous beaches, incredible cuisine, and exotic wildlife. When tourists from around the globe travel to the Asian country, they tend to partake in zip-lining, exploring local food, and the riding of elephants. While the last activity might sound neat, it’s actually a nightmare for the pachyderms so many people claim to love.
To “tame” an elephant, the mammal has its spirit “broken” at a young age. It is separated from its mother, beaten and terrorized, and taught to obey commands to ready it for a life in the tourism industry. As Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, the senior wildlife and veterinary adviser at World Animal Protection, explained:
“Tourists may think activities like riding an elephant do no harm. But the brutal truth is that breaking these animals’ spirits to the point that they allow humans to interact with them involves cruelty at every turn.”
According to a 2010 report by the group World Animal Protection, more than half of the 1,688 captive elephants across Thailand lived in “terrible” conditions and were bound by “extreme” restraints. The Dodo reports,
“They were unable to socialize with other elephants. They did not receive veterinary care. And for those who suggest that the treks instill any kind of conservation ethos, World Animal Protection found only 6 percent of the venues promoted educational components with the treks.”
Don’t just take our word for it. In the video found here, men in Thailand can be seen beating a wild-caught baby elephant in a cage over the span of a few days. Their intent? To “break” its spirit so it obeys commands and makes them money. And in the video below, a half-blind female elephant in South Thailand undergoes horrible abuse by her captors.
The undercover footage was shared by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and focuses on the female elephant who has limited vision. Despite being half-blind, she is forced to carry massive loads of tourists on her back. And, as One Green Planet reports, if she does not obey an order during the work day, she is whipped and beaten in the face, trunk, head, and feet. This doesn’t just occur for minutes, but hours. Afterward, she is chained up to prevent her from escaping.
Watch the video below:
Undercover footage shows an elephant at a tourism camp in Southern Thailand, being beaten up for hours as she did not obey orders during the working time. This elephant is completely blind in her right eye (see the cataracts) and has limited eyesight in her left eye. She still has to walk tourists every day… After watching the video, will you still feel it is ok to ride an elephant?
Posted by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand on Thursday, January 4, 2018
One does not need to be an animal rights activist to conclude that such behavior is abhorrent. If another species made their presence known on Earth and treated humans in such a manner, the population would (hopefully) rise up and fight back. Retaliation is not tolerated by animals, however, who (this author argues) may be the most innocent creatures on this planet. What does this say about humans?
The video above may be difficult to watch, but it is imperative to share. Simply, because this degree of abuse continues to take place all around the world, especially in Asian countries where elephants play a big role in the tourism industry.
If you would like to learn more about how you can prevent this type of abuse and protect Thailand’s wild animals, visit the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand Facebook page. You can also raise awareness by sharing this news and commenting your thoughts below!
h/t One Green Planet