Thailand : the rare images showing the cruel training of “elephants to tourists”

Thaïlande : rares images montrant le cruel dressage des «éléphants à touristes»

*Some images below are difficult to look at. We prefer to warn you.*

Stressed, confined, ill-treated : a video showing the violence of the breaking of baby elephants, destined to be employed in the lucrative tourism industry in Thailand has been released by environmentalists, who urge the immediate cessation of these practices.

An elephant does not, of course, he submits. Up for tourist purposes, the mahout (trainer) uses the technique of the “phajaan” which is to ” break his spirit “.

Separated from his mother, subject to an important stress, it is encased in a narrow enclosure, which was maintained by chains and ropes, according to these images, filmed hidden camera in the last year in Thailand and published on Wednesday by the british-based group in defense of animals World Animal Protection (WAP).

The video shows the mahout’s prick of the young pachyderm with a rod surmounted by a sharp point-metal to make him understand the basic commands, which sometimes causes bleeding.

“The goal is to achieve complete control through rewards and punishments. We must make him understand that disobeying is painful “, explained to AFP Jan Schmidt-Burbach of the WAP, which deplores the many “physical and psychological damage” inflicted on the animal.

Carry tourists on their backs, swimming with them, and perform tricks like in a circus : some 3000 elephants are usually employed in the tourism industry in Thailand.

But the pachyderms are unemployed since the locking of the country due to the pandemic.

More than a thousand of them, threatened by hunger, have fled the camps deserted to return to their native village, a migratory wave of unprecedented magnitude over such a short period of time.

Environmentalists are hoping that this crisis is used to launch a wide reflection on the place of the elephant home in the country.

“It is absolutely necessary to promote more tourism based only on the observation,” reports Jan Schmidt-Burbach.

The number of elephants in captivity has jumped by 30 % in 30 years and the sector, the lack of regulation. Once domesticated, the animal is considered as simple cattle according to the thai law, in contrast to the wild elephants, protected.

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