An update from the elephant polo: bullhooks, beatings and chains  

your say March 14, 2018 01:00

Scenes of cruelty at Bangkok’s annual elephant polo tournament, the latest edition of which wound up on Sunday, show this tournament has no place in a civilised society.

At our Twitter page (@PETAAsia) we have documented abuses such as an elephant left chained up all day in a flooded field and an elephant beaten during a yoga event. We have plenty more footage of beatings over the last few days. The hotel in question can’t even be bothered to keep their eyes open to the abuse that is happening around them.

Elephants are majestic, intelligent and independent animals who don’t play polo in the wild, and being hit and prodded to perform senseless movements in captivity deeply distresses them. Every one of these animals has been beaten and broken by sheer force for this absurd tournament, as the scars on their ears and elsewhere on their bodies attest, and the fact that they submit to commands to move in ways that make no sense to them is proof of their understandable fear of punishment if they refuse. It is fraudulent to pretend that we are dealing with a few bad apples here, when all the handlers wield bullhooks – sharp steel-tipped weapons used to hook, beat and jab elephants in order to keep them obedient and subservient. Trying to write off PETA’s footage as only showing isolated incidents is a shameful attempt by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas to avoid the inevitable: the end of this cruel, stupid scam.

If Minor Hotels cared about elephants they wouldn’t make them perform. They don’t need to fire anyone, they need to cancel the event.

Jason Baker

PETA vice president of International Campaigns