Treatment of elephants a serious cause for concern

your say March 19, 2018 01:00

I am writing to express my concern regarding the recent piece that was published on your website: An open letter to Peta on elephant welfare in Thailand.

I have watched the videos posted by Peta that show the violence inflicted on elephants for Thailand’s Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. I was disgusted – to say the least – at what I saw in these videos. I’m not sure if you have personally watched them yourself, but if you haven’t yet, what you will see is multiple, not just one, in fact I counted at least six different mahouts, striking elephants repeatedly with a sharp weapon.

One of the mahouts is seen to strike an elephant he is sitting on 19 times before the video ends! The elephant was obviously distressed and in pain as you can see the elephant helplessly trying to move away with each blow to the head. These gentle creatures, also had these sharp weapons attached to their sensitive ears, and were forcibly dragged along by young mahouts.

What I also found really disturbing was the age of some of these mahouts. There are what appears to be children as young as 12 to 13 years old violently beating these elephants.

What hope is there for the future if the younger generation think this is an acceptable way to treat an animal? 

It is mentioned that US$2 million (Bt62 million) that has been raised by this cruel tournament will be distributed to elephant conservation projects. I ask is this not hypocritical, to exploit certain elephants in order to save others? Surely there are other ways to raise money that don’t involve abusing animals.

As you would know, Thailand is a very popular tourist destination for Australians, and though I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Thailand yet myself, the majority of my friends and family have.

The friends and family with whom I have shared this information with are appalled. I will ensure that everyone I know who visits Thailand is aware of the abuse elephants are subjected to.

I am disappointed that you have decided to publish an open letter defending such questionable ethics, and I encourage you to watch the footage of the mahouts “handling” the elephants for the tournament and see for yourself, you might view things in a different way.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.

Monica Joyce

Woy Woy, Australia