...Sorry (graphic) Wednesday, 12:16 PM There is an air of celebration in the village as the baby elephant, unable to move in any direction, awaits her fate. Young and old come to watch and participate in the spectacle before them.
One by one, additional ropes and steel cables are wrapped around her belly, legs, and feet—even her tail is bound. She desperately tries to thwart off her tormentors to no avail, using her trunk to push the ropes away and to defend herself from their painful blows. But there is no mercy. Her trunk and the sensitive skin between her toenails are hit with clubs and punctured with nail-studded sticks, and nails are inserted into her ear canals.
Bound and exhausted, she can no longer stand. Her legs give out, forcing her to hang by the ropes choking her neck or wrapped around her belly or to collapse against the sides of the cage. A jab to the ribs sends her momentarily upright again.
A village elder climbs on top of her and straddles her neck. He holds a stick attached to a long, curved, and pointed blade. Speaking in Thai, he delivers a message to the baby elephant, “Remember, if you don’t go against us, we won’t hurt you.” He raises the blade, spits on it, and sinks it into her head, directly between her ears. Each time he drives the blade into her head, he strains to work it back out of her tortured and bloodied flesh. Later, it is discovered that she has lost her ability to hear, most likely the result of this elder’s sadistic lesson.
The elder dismounts and two young men take his place. They casually sit atop her back, one smoking a cigarette. His cigarette break over, the man fervently works the pointed end of a stick into the wound in her head, placed there by the village elder. She roars in inescapable agony, lifting her head in a futile attempt to shake off this instrument of pain.
Dusk has fallen upon the village, and through the smoke of a campfire burning beside her cage, her sorrowful eyes reveal the fear and confusion of a baby elephant whose world has been turned upside down. Her mother is gone and she has been bound, beaten, and abused by those she trusted. However, her ordeal is far from over. For the next several days, she is denied food, water, and sleep. Taking shifts, the villagers beat her day and night, ensuring that her subjugation is absolute and complete.
A week later, witnesses to the beatings discover her tied to a tree outside the village. Her eyes are swollen shut, blood and pus run down her large, torn ears, and her body is covered with raw wounds. Footage of other caged baby elephants with diarrhea coating the backs of their legs is graphic evidence of the pure terror that they endure. Beatings will be used regularly for the rest of their lives to remind them “who’s boss.” Some will eventually snap from the strain of relentless abuse, attacking and killing mahouts and tourists. Click here for a partial list of elephant incidents in Thailand.
And the fact is.....any baby elephants taken from the wild (Africa or Asia), will be "BROKEN" in this way. The same way the Asians are broken.
God...words can't describe how sickening this sort of act is. I just cant comprend the fact people think this is acceptable and that they feel no shame or remorse when that baby cries out!!
How can people be so utterly psycotic, disgusting, vile...you just cant put it into words...they fail me..
I hear of so much abuse and everytime i am shocked a little more.
I cant believe this still happens..that it's happening now...and yet it does..
I am determined to get out there to help this stop. I'm taking a masters degree in animal science and am going over to south africa next year..so i'm hoping to get my head start there..
I just hope one day i can help stop the suffering of at least one ele...but hopefully many more.
thanks for the info on this..as harrowing as it is people need to see this and wake up to what happens. they are not "trained" with carrotts and bananas...anyone who believes so need's educating..and this is the only way..
Surin, Chaiyapoom, Buriram, etc. Baby elephants are in great demand. The average age is 2-3 years old because :
1.1 Babies are easily trained. The disadvantage is the babies die easily because they are weak and cannot tolerate tough training or punishment. They seldom suffer from stress that effects them physically and emotionally and often results in fatality.
1.2 Babies are usually attract attention. The owners feed them enough to only survive so they will not grow too fast. This results in the deformity and undernourishment.
1.3 Babies can be transported conveniently. The pick-up or a medium truck can be used. The cost is low.
1.4 Babies are not fierce and easy to control. They tend to be obedient. (because of the punishment). The wage of the keeper is low because they do not need any experienced high paid mahout.
Relating to the use of equipment on the elephants, the Magistrate said that the test was “reasonable” use: - “there were certain incidents where the mahouts acted unlawfully". Referring to the use of the hooked ear-loops on the elephants, Magistrate Bekker stated: - “Their [the mahouts] actions must be regarded as unreasonable and unlawful". Referring to the use of BROOMSTICKS and KICKING of elephants’GENITALS: - “All these incidents were unlawful and unreasonable.” The mahouts were charged, but disappeared. The Indonesian mahouts had handled and trained the elephants but Ghiazza / AGS contravened the APA because they took no steps to stop the ill-treatment. The Magistrate stated that they had not only foreseen but had reconciled themselves with the possibility that unnecessary pain and suffering would be inflicted on the elephants.
Our congratulations to the NSPCA for their work bringing this case.
On October 31st 1998 some two months after cruelty charges were laid, an NSPCA Monitor witnessed the following at Ghiazza's facility, Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa:- "One elephant was tied up in the Warehouse .... When the elephant simply moved its trunk or shifted its weight, the mahouts would all hit it. Especially the mahout in front who would whip its face with a rubber whip. I counted that during this training session of 20 minutes, the elephant was hit, or stabbed, with an ankus a total of 136 times".
A month later the NSPCA was forced to bring additional cruelty charges against a mahout for using a pitchfork to discipline an elephant. Since then one elephant has been partially blinded by a whip and another two have mysteriously sustained slashes on their trunks, one almost severed.
this stuff just ticks me off so bad I question our humanity. Yes, nature is cruel in it's own right but not for the sole purpose of entertainment I know I'm speaking to the choir here but I had to let it out. I still need to go for a walk or something now...
Eles, thank you for the email that brought me here - and thanks to all of you that are doing so much to stop this than I can. The miniscule amout of help I can offer ticks me off right now too...
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Being 2 or 3 years old and stolen from your mothers loving caring arms? stolen from your sisters, aunts, grand mothers? What do you suppose you would be thinking?
Can you imagine then being taken to a village of people and not understanding the language, then being encircled by everyone still not knowing what is happening then being bound so tightly by every limb that you couldn't move? Imagine then being dragged into a fence so small you barley fit and with no way to escape?
Still you don't understand what is being yelled at you, and suddenly, you feel a painfull slap across your back, then a stab in your head and another in your eye. This continuing the entire day until you can not stand on your own. Then the pain stops and you are lead to a tree where you are tied up. All night you cry in silence because the people won't let you sleep, you cry and want the comfort of your mother and family, but do they know where you are? Do they care? why isn't my family comming to save me from this? Then it is morning and you feel hunger & thirst but there is no food or water, just pain from the festering dirty wounds that cover your body. You want to drink, but there is no water. You are tied to the tree and the people won't let you sleep, they wont let you drink or eat. Imagine being 2 or 3 years old tied to a tree for days, in such pain, hungry and thirsty, deprived of sleep. Then one day you are released and you might think it is all over, but you are quickly bound and lead to the pen again and the beating resumes, and maybe you think you will welcome death but death doesn't come, just more beating and yelling and pain. You don't know when it will end, if it will end. Imagine what you would think, what you would feel.
4. Why separate the elephant calves from their mothers?
WHAT THE THAI GOVERNMENT SAYS: “It is widely established among elephant experts that when baby elephants attained a certain age they, in particular the male calves, can be harmful to their mothers. The usual age when baby elephants are separated from their mother is three. This is the time when baby elephants no longer want their mothers suckling them. Like children attending a kindergarten, baby elephants are brought to elephant camps to be with their peers. There they are reared to know and to learn how to live in harmony with human beings.”
I CANT BELIEVE THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING!! URGHHH IM SO ANGRY!! I hate these people..so so so much i cant describe!!
I watched all these one time and I was so upset I could not sleep. Tried to watch them again and it just tears my heart right out of my chest. If I could be there when this was happening I'd be in prison for murder because I would kill everyone of those "SOB'S". To think this is going on right now just makes me physically ill.
For the babies, may God punish those more severely than they have punished you!
I say let the punishment fit the crime .... tie these SOB's up just as they do to the elephants, and beat them and poke them with sharp instruments until you draw blood .... then let them bleed to death .......
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I'm fuming again and am trying to not walk out the door and try to talk to the person that wrote this article right now (I work at this paper and really need to keep my job). I think she and our editors missed an opportunity to elevate this subject but instead sterilized the story to make everybody smile.
Maybe after I calm down a bit I'll talk to her but in the meantime, I'll send her an email to vent a bit...maybe somebody else would like to give her some feedback on her story too.
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That's a real feel-good article making it sound as if the eles love to perform and to be housed in a tent. The problem here is the ignorance of those who request that the elephants be returned to the circus, they don't realise the cruelty involved.
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I email with my feedback Barry! I suggest everyone do the same!
Tell the paper to write the REAL HORRIFIC TRUTH ABOUT COLE BROS!! MENTION THE COUNTLESS USDA VIOLATIONS!! MENTION CONTI & PETE!!!!! SPEAK UP FOR THEM!! MAKE SURE TO MENTION THE DANGERS OF TB WITH ELEPHANTS!! GIVE THE PUBLIC SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE TAKING AN ELEPHANT RIDE!!!
Schwammer rejected the charges. Before being shown the video, he declared that hitting animals was strictly forbidden at Schoenbrunn.
Humph. I'd like to know what he said AFTER being shown the video. Bastard.
But, he conceded that the use of "elephant hooks" was allowed for "correctional" purposes.
So it's strictly forbidden, except that it's allowed. Double-speak.
The two-year-old female elephant calf was being taught to take part in the daily care routine, said Schwammer.
If this is the daily care routine, that whole @#$%^&! place needs to be shut down.
"The animal was behaving like a hooligan", he said.
And what do "hooligans" behave like? How would you describe this behavior: forcibly tearing babies away from their mothers and tying them with ropes; pulling babies down and hitting them on the head with pointed hooks, ignoring their screams?
Sounds pretty "hooliganish" to me.
Anyone who defends such treatment of animals should not have a job working with animals in any capacity. I'm glad OETV is taking legal action.
There's a still-shot from the video currently at OETV's home page. You can clearly see the baby elephant in the left-center of the picture, with someone striking her backside with a long narrow object. http://www.tierschutzverein.at/
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I can't believe how barbaric humans can be. How could anybody do that, it is just disgusting. When I read things like that, I wish that i wasn't part of the human race. I am devoting my life to animals and against the disgusting people that cause them so much suffering.
THIS IS SICKNESS TO SEE WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO BABY ELEPHANTS THEY NEED TO BE TIED UP AND BEATEN TO AND TORTURE JUST LIKE THEY DO THEM AND NOT LET NOBODY FEEL SORRY FOR THEM WHILE THEY ARE BEING BEATEN AND TORTURE LIKE THEY DON'T HAVE ANY FEELING EITHER OH HOW I WOULD LOVE TO GET MY HANDS ON THEM DUMB... PEOPLE...THOSE ELEPHANTS HAVE FEELINGS JUST LIKE THEY DO I CAN'T STAND THOSE PEOPLE I HOPE THEY ARE WELL PUNISHED BY GOD IN THE END FOR DOING THAT.....MINE AND BELLE THOUGHTS ARE WITH THEM BABIES ....
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I am still brushing the tears from my eyes as I try to type this. I just don't understand how the human race can be so cruel! I couldn't bear to watch the videos - it would really get my blood boiling.
Makes ya really want to "reach out and touch some one"!
Mary E..u are right it's hurts deep inside to hear stuff like this and see it yes it does want u to reach out and touch somebody but not a soft touch a touch they will feel for life to mkae then hurt like they have hurt these animals....
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i am new to the group and i am very glad that i was invited and that i decided to join. i had no idea that elaphants suffered this kind of abuse. i knew that it happened, but i never knew that it was this horrible. this makes me want to kill the people who do this kind of stuff. actually, no. i dont want to kill them. i want to give them the treatment they deserve. i want to beat them and stab them and whip them and then leave them to starve.
sorry i just had to let out my anger.
when i finished reading this post i was in tears. i cant believe people can do this kind of stuff. i really dont think i want to be human. humans think they are better than all other living things. i have made up my mind.....
i am now a cat!!!! sorry i just had to lighten up the mood a little.
This thread truly made me sick and left me in tears! How can people be SO cruel?! What can we do to stop them? Yes, I'll write letters and spread the word... but I won't see any immediate result! Is PETA intervening in any way? What about any other Animal Organizations? I'm a member of two here in Italy and I'll ask them about it... I think people should know about this barbaric custom!!!
Here's another sad reminder - the elephants we know of, and tried to help had a sad lonely painful start...
Calle was born in Asia in 1966. As a 1-year-old, she was captured, taken from her mother, shipped to the U.S. and sold to a "trainer" named Howard Johnson. For the next 20 years, Calle was rented to circuses all over North America and then used as a "prop" in a Las Vegas show. When the show closed, Calle was kept chained in the hotel basement.
In 1987, Calle was sold to a new "owner" who put her to work giving rides to children. Three years later, Calle was sold again. In 1991, while traveling with a circus in Mexico, the trailer carrying Calle flipped completely over and she was injured.
Two years later, Calle ended up at the Los Angeles Zoo.
After so many years of harsh treatment, Calle may have finally cracked. She injured a zoo handler in October 1996 and the zoo shipped her back to Johnson to house where they decided her fate.
It wasn't until April 1997 that the Los Angeles Zoo admitted that Calle had been suffering from tuberculosis. Calle was moved again, this time to the San Francisco Zoo and housed alone.
this printed long before TES- another young ele taken from her Mom March 09, 2006 7:41 AM
Lota was born in India in 1952. At the age of 6, she was trapped and sold to the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. For the next 32 years, Lota was confined to a small, concrete stall, nothing more than a living museum piece. Lota was "trained" to behave by an elephant "consultant," who has been captured on video repeatedly digging sharp bullhooks into elephants' tender skin and ignoring the screams of injured, frightened elephants.
In 1990, zoo officials passed Lota on to the Hawthorn Corporation in Illinois because, like many elephants imprisoned for years, she had become "aggressive." On the day she was forced from the only "home" she had known since infancy, the terrified Lota refused to move and was roped, chained, beaten and dragged from her stall. Witnesses said that blood flowed from the back of the moving truck. Hawthorn, Lota's new "home," an animal-leasing business begun by millionaire John Cuneo, was a large, dark shed, in which chained elephants were warehoused until Cuneo could rent them out. In 1994, Lota was sent to perform at the Walker Bros. Circus.
In May 1996, the Hawthorn Corporation was fined for violations of animal welfare laws. That August, Hawthorn elephants Hattie and Joyce collapsed and died of tuberculosis. The exhausted animals had been forced to perform up until their deaths. By October of that year, Lota was also obviously ill but she, too, was still forced to travel and perform. Suspecting that Lota had tuberculosis, Florida officials turned the circus back at the state line.
In February 1997, Walker Bros. Circus was fined by the U.S. government for failing to provide veterinary care, for hiring inexperienced animal handlers and for transporting animals in unsafe vehicles. Hawthorn's license to exhibit animals was (temporarily) suspended when Cuneo was caught trying to ship a baby elephant with tuberculosis to Puerto Rico.
As we go to print, Lota is still in the hands of a company that will rent her out to circuses, unaware that so many are fighting for her freedom and retirement.
"After a day and night in Chiang Mai we set out early for the Elephant Conservation Center, an hour south. It has expanded greatly, in terms of human buildings, but not in space for the elephants, (just like LA Zoo plans). The first things we saw were 2 small pens, each for a mother and baby. I knew from previous visits that these poor elephants would basically live in these tiny enclosures for a year or two, with just a little relief coming from 4 pm when they are chained in the forest for the night. As I got close to the second mother I saw that she was hobbled! Shackled on her front feet, at the end of her 4-foot chain! I lost it, as the tears just came. She couldn’t even reach her baby at times. This is inexcusable."
-Amanda de Normanville, All For Elephants
If, while in Thailand, you see injured or pregnant elephants working in shows or giving rides, please complaint to the camp management, AND if possible write to both the Prime Minister and the Tourist Authority of Thailand. When writing to Thailand if is important to remember that the Thai people are very polite, and to write what you DO like in Thailand, as well as to name the camp and location and what you saw that you did NOT like. They do not want to lose tourism, and they are listening to us!
The Prime Minister, Government House, Thanon Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Director of Tourist Authority of Thailand, Northern Region, 101/1 Chiangmai-Lamphun Road, Muand district, Chiangmai 5000, Thailand
There are many elephant camps in the North, around Chiang Mai, and elephants may also be found in the East and on some islands in the South, sometimes begging, sometimes performing. Please do not support these, and do as above. (Some little known facts about street elephants: their owners can be fined if they urinate on the streets, so the elephants are often deprived of water the day before. Also, the food that they find to eat in the city is contaminated. An elephant needs about 300 kgs/day (600 lbs) and the few bunches of bananas for money just keep the owners coming back to beg. PLEASE DO NOT FEED THEM. IT DOESN'T HELP.)
We would very much appreciate it if you would send us a copy of your letter (though not necessary of course) to either Amanda or Gary, 555 West College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 or email it to Amanda@allforelephants.org or Gary@allforelephants.org
I have heard of the way theses baby elephant are "broken",but i have never seen such horrible pics/videos!this is just so horrific i can not stop weeping.i do not understand why these people need to do this to baby/adult any kind of creature. I am new to this site people.and i can see my voice needs to be heard!and we as protesters against this and other crimes against elephants and other animals,we must stand tightly knit together to put a permanet end to the abuse of these and all the wonderful creatures on our home planet.well i have an idea,the world is always saying how it needs to generate more jobs.....so why not generate jobs to annilate the abusers of our most precsious resource,our animals?This has me so upset i can not even think straight.I just know that i want true justice to be served for our baby elephants.do these people think that they can go on doing this forever?They can not do that because will not LET them will we? I would like to break them just the way they are breaking these poor baby elephants.I can not express the anger I have in me over this.and my friends it is a rigtheous anger,and righteous anger always wins no matter what it takes. Thank you for listening to me R.T.
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Looking back at this thread, it reminded me of Sadie for some reason - here is her sad , pathetic story:
Sadie Sadie was a young, timid elephant. Her trainers believed it was essential that elephants used in circuses learn fear of punishment and discomfort as basic discipline. They were impatient and she was confused by the strange, puzzling tricks that were unnatural to any elephant.
One day, Sadie attempted to run out of the ring. Her trainers brought her back and began to punish her for being "stupid." Overwhelmed with a sense of frustration, helplessness, and hopelessness, Sadie laid down and began to cry. Tears streamed down her face as her huge body heaved with every desperate sob. Her spirit broken, Sadie would never regain the freedom and dignity the circus had so cruelly taken from her.
"With only two weeks to get ready for opening night at the circus, we had to work fast to get the elephants ready to perform.
Sadie, the youngest, was very timid and frightened. One day we had her in the ring for training. She could not do her tricks she didn't understand and ran out of the ring, afraid of punishment. we caught her, brought her back, forced her to the ground and began to punish her for being so stupid.
Suddenly, we stopped hitting her and looked at each other. Sadie was crying like a human being. She lay there on her side, tears streaming down her face and sobs racking her body. "
Stupid, you say ? Just how intelligent is it , do you think , to force a young elephant (or any other animal, for that matter) to peform ridiculous , unnatural acts ? I couldn't watch the entirety of the videos. I just get SO tired of watching these sadistic , ignorant people abusing and exploiting animals. It's maddening.
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June 05, 2006 10:10 PM
Lucy, you're an inspiration. Something definately has to be done for these animals. They can't speak for themselves. We have to be their voice.
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I am sitting here just crying like a baby! I ache to my very core at all this abuse. I agree with a statemnt I read that these "People" who do this should have to suffer the way they make these poor babies suffer! I can NEVER watch any of the videos, I would never stop crying. I just do NOT understand how people can do such heinous things and see the pain and anguish in these poor babies eyes and keep doing it!!
OK...I'm crying so hard I can no longer type! Sorry for being so emotional!
These acts of torture and abuse are horrendous....I am sickened at the thought of baby eles being treated this way.....and these kinds of acts need to be stopped....these men who do this are barbaric monsters! Sick twisted freaks who like to torture poor defenseless baby Eles...makes me sick to my stomach. How could you look into those eyes and do such unimaginable things to these poor babies???????? I know this stuff goes on, but when will it end? These mindless barbarians must be stopped.
These stories of abuse to the elephants-(especially the baby's) is so sadistic and sad! Surely they will be punished by God for what they have done to one of His most majestic animals! It's a shame they can't be punished in this life time!!
I have read many of the posts and stopped. I can NOT watch any of the totures. It will haunt me , depress me, make me angry, give me nightmares and also make me frustrated as I wasn't there to protect them. I can't stand ANY of Gods creatures to be punished.
Anyone here that needs a petition signed, please send or anything else I can do but don't ask me to watch.
I will definitely pray for these innocent elephants and hope that their captors recieve their just dues!!
it is difficult to write thru my tears. i am just sickened,mortified and angry, very,very angry. how can i have any faith in humanity when there are so many injustices we afflict upon the innocent. i am at a loss. i don't think i will stop crying today.
This post was modified from its original form on 17 Jan, 4:02
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THRISSUR: It is height
of cruelty. It is alarming. And it is simply beyond belief. But it is a
naked truth. Nearly 15 percent of the domesticated tuskers carrying
Gods and Goddesses and entertainingpublic in festivals and celebrations in this Gods Own Country is partially or totally blind. Believe it or not, majority of these animals
lost their eye-sight due to beating by their mahouts. Paradoxically, in
this group of blind tuskers are some of the elegant ones most sought
after by the organisers of festivals.
Talking to this website's
newspaper, Kerala Agricultural Universitys College of Veterinary and
Animal Sciences former Dean Radhakrishna Kaimal said that of the 15
percent 10 percent could see only with one eye, the sight of the other
having lost for ever, and both the eyes of the remaining 5 percent are
damaged mainly due to the cruelty of man. He said that he once had an
occasion to treat a tusker whose one eye was damaged due to pouring of
acid by its mahout.
Nearness to high voltage light and exposure to scorching sun for a long time could also cause damage to the eye, he said.
veterinarian, who is at present engaged in a research project on Asian
elephants on behalf of a nongovernment organisation, agrees with the
revelation of Kaimal. He said that as part of the project work he had
detailed medical investigation of about 200 elephants. He said that
during the examination he found that majority of the elephants that had
lost their sight partly or fully are owned by private individuals. He
said while the incidence of tuberculosis infection is more among
elephants owned by temples, the sight loss is noticed more among
elephants in private hands.
The researcher said that these
animals had lost their sight mainly due to a strike with strong stick
by their mahouts. In most cases, the right eye is found damaged as
usually the mahout holding the stick in his right hand walks along with
animal on its right side. He said that when struck by a right-handed
mahout walking on the right side of the animal, the portion of right
eye is the most accessible area to get hit. He said those with both
eyes damaged were unfortunate to have had both right-handed and
Veterinary expert E K Easwaran, who is
assigned to implant microchips on domesticated elephants in the state
under Project Elephant, however, disputed the figures. He said that
there are quite a few tuskers with eyes damaged partially or fully and
they are mainly found in Thrissur and northern areas. He said that so
far microchips had been implanted on 675 elephants and a dozen more are
to be implanted.
He, however, said that while implanting microchips a thorough medical examination of the animal is not carried out.
the problem of sight, the animals do their assignments without much
difficulty because for the movement and other activities, elephants are
mainly guided by smell and the infrasonic sound gathered by their
highly sensitive trunks and portion of legs touching the ground, said
Replying to: How Baby Elephants Are August 09, 2008 9:01 PM
what makes people pick these gentle giants out specifically? what causes them to be so cruel? whoever told them they had the right to n torture baby elephants to break them for their own wants, be it performanship or ownership? i don't care if the elephants can perform because of vibrations or whatever, the fact is, nobody had/has the right to harm any animal's sight for their own selfish purposes., nobody has the right to own another being in the way these people do.
elephants are born to roam free. when will people let them be & what's taking so long?
we are talking about an ignorant people, heartless, without compassion or empathy, i feel as sorry for them as i do for the elephants because the energy you put in the universe, only returns to you. and i don't know what these people believe , but if they believe in reincarnation, don't they realize they will be reincarnated in a lower, more painful realm? they deserve to be.
sometimes broken and/or captive and/or confined elephants snap and go on a rampage. i am a peace loving person, but would not be at all disappointed or offer any help, if the elephants these people are abusing snap and turn on them. they deserve to feel the pain they have been inflicting.
what makes mankind so arrogant, that they truly believe they can do as they please with animals, the earth, people suffering on earth, suffering inflicted by other humans? what in the world makes them believe they have that right? sometimes i just don't understand people, or life at all. so much pain and sadness at the hands of man......why? i just don't get it and i am grateful for that. i keep all captive animals in my meditations and prayers but am growing impatient. aren't you?
This post was modified from its original form on 09 Aug, 21:02
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Taming elephants? No! No! No! May 06, 2009 4:30 AM
What gruesome stories are told above. The next is not my own, but was placed on her blog in Die Burger (a South African newspaper) by Marga Ley. My translation is as follows:
"As promised, I did some research on the taming and use of elephants. It was not a pleasant job and in the process I read some disturbing things. So disturbing that I'm not going to repeat everything here. Enough said that the only way to get an elephant 100% obedient (and that is necessary if it has to move freely among people) is to make it terror-stricken for pain. After that the mahout permanently carries a sharp steel hook to manage the elephant. The fear and pain caused by the hook is the only way in which a person weighing 80kg can control a 5 000kg animal.
The traditional 'crush' of an elephant is mentioned. This simply means that the elephant's spirit must be broken, that everything important to it is replaced with pain - moving, having enough water and food, socialising, having a family (which is very important to an elephant), mental stimulation, expressing its emotions. All these are taken away and replaced with pain. According to Richard Lair, international PR for the elephant protection centre in Thailand, the crush ritual is used in all the Asian countries with tame elephants. Another outspoken critic against and witness of crush is Sangdued 'Lek' Chailert, an activist who provides free veterinary services to elephants in Chiang-Mai in the north of Thailand.
Chailert is also the owner of Elephants Heaven, a haven for neglected elephants in the same area. The stories of these elephants are too gruesome to repeat here - such as the blind elephant being shot in the eyes with a catapult every time it couldn't do something quick enough.
These training methods are the same for Asian and African elephants. They must be forced through pain and fear to be 100% obedient at all times and to obey all instructions immediately. If not, the animals cannot be allowed near people - like on elephant safaris, like in South Africa as well.
I will never participate in that.
An elephant is not a domesticated animal. Neither is it a pet. Next time you should think twice about why it is so obedient when people place things on its back ... or eat out of their hands ... or when it does cute tricks ..."
I agree with Marga. I will never participate. Not after having read this and the other threads above.
This is so very sad! It breaks my heart to even think people can be so cruel. Elephants are very simular to humans they need to interact and are very sociable animals with one another! Will this ever stop? I lie awake at nights wondering what abuse are taking place to our animals! All I can do is to pray for God to have mercy on them and let them be taken to a better place!
Traffic: How to Smuggle and Elephant..She lowers her head, squints her
watery eyes, and belts out a penetrating scream while struggling with
the enormous cargo she drags behind her. A small man precariously
perched on her head, kicks with his bare
direct link: http://www.rattlethecage.org/node/24
some quotations, in case the story ever gets moved:
Shh, he says as he cups his hand over his ear. Across the river, a
growl pierces the thick green forest, a growl that sounds positively
prehistoric, like an angry lion into a 500 watt amplifier. We wade
across the river, crawl up the steep embankment, and into the bamboo
thicket. We bushwhack our way through, hacking at the thick stalks. It
starts to rain.
Ive been working along the border for two months now, slipping back
and forth attempting to document the illegal trafficking of live wild
and domesticated elephants. Unlike their African cousins, Asian
elephants are traded primarily for the entertainment industry, which
includes circuses, zoos, safaris, and trekking outfits. And a lucrative
business it is. My educated guess is that dozens of these animals are
smuggled into and laundered though Thailand every month.
Thailand is the hub for international trade of Asian elephants. In
the past two decades exports from Thailand have increased and include
sales (or donations) to Japan, China, US, Australia and others. The
majority of these animals are considered captive bred which the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITE states
the animal must have been sired by at least one captive adult in a
controlled environment. However, captive breeding in Thailand has been
largely unsuccessful. The average number of offspring from a captive
adult female Asian elephant is 1.48 in her lifetime. This rate of
successful reproduction hardly satisfies the demand for juvenile
elephants in the entertainment industry. Thus, the trade is
supplemented with young wild caught elephants, primarily from Burma.
Again the angry roar pierces the thick air. It grows louder as we
push forward. A few dozen meters up the slope in front of us the dense
bamboo rustles under an unseen force. I reach into my pocket and
activate the hidden camera sewn into my shirt just as a towering gray
mass bursts through the trees in front of me; bamboo cracks under her
We make eye contact. She lowers her head, squints her watery eyes,
and belts out a penetrating scream while struggling with the enormous
cargo she drags behind her. A small man precariously perched on her
head, kicks with his bare feet at her ears. He swings a hooked
instrument (ankus) at her skull repeatedly. Her forehead is saturated
with blood. Again she wails.
From a harness around her neck and back, two long chains pulled
taunt disappear into the jungle. Tethered at the other end is a massive
fifteen meter long, one meter wide teak log. She can only pull small
logs, my guide explains, She is pregnant.
My guide is under the impression that I work for a wealthy farang
(Westerner) who is opening a new elephant trekking camp in Northern
Thailand, and that we need elephants. My goal is simple (or so it
sounds): through undercover means, infiltrate, investigate, and
document the illegal trade.
Tourism is growing exponentially in Thailand and with it the demand
for show businesses and trekking elephants. Elephant trekking camps are
vastly popular with tourists in Thailand. And most every tourist I
encounter during this investigation has been on or is going on an
elephant trek. When I ask what makes them want to get on the back of an
elephant the response is typically a hesitant reply, We love elephants
and want an elephant experience.
In Bangkok and Chiang Mai tourists are inundated by images and ads
selling elephant experiences. Its impossible to avoid them. And during
the course of my research I have yet to meet a single tourist who
understands the connections with their desire for an elephant
experience and the horrors of wild elephant captures, let alone the
consequences to the ecosystem. They all appear to have left their
brains at the baggage claim in BKK International Airport.
The majority of the trekking camps also serve the international
trade. They buy and sell elephants. Since habitat loss and development
have rendered Thailands wild elephant population virtually extinct the
supply market has moved just across the border to SE Asias last
vestiges of jungle refuge; Burma. With its vast tracks of virgin
jungles and the relatively low human population growth, Burma may very
well be the last stronghold for the wild Asian Elephant, with an
estimated 5000-7000 in the wild including 3 very large herds in the
Burma has a population of approximately 60 million people and has an
estimated 50% of its jungles intact. But this is changing rapidly as
logging increases to serve international demands.
Capturing and training elephants in Burma is hardly illegal (the
government encourages the centuries old practice to support the local
logging industry), however, the transport and sales across borders is
illegal. The particular ring I am focusing on boasts forty elephant
deals between Burma and Thailand in the past 2 months. At that rate,
the wild elephant roar in Burma may very well be silenced in less than
ten years. With Burmas weak law enforcement and political unrest the
elephant trade has become quite a lucrative underground business.
Heres how it works: In the jungle, a wild herd is tracked, a three
to four year old elephant is targeted and separated from the pack. The
youngster is lured into a pen where she is lassoed and harnessed.
Often, troublesome family members (more precisely, the mothers) are
killed in the process. The captive youngster is then forced into a
wooden crate called a pajan (crush box). In the pajan she will be
starved, poked, prodded, and beaten into submission. This is one of the
most painful experiences I have had to witness and document. It
typically takes a few weeks for the terrified animal to be completely
broken physically and mentally at which time the training commences.
The animal is assigned to an oozie (trainer). Chained on all four
legs, she is taught simple commands at first; forward, backward, pull,
push, kneel, etc. It will be years before she is strong enough to enter
into the logging or trekking profession. But because young elephants
are endearing to westerners and highly photogenic, they often end up
street begging for unapprised tourists in Thai cities until they are
ready for trekking. There are an estimated 500 elephants working in the
city streets in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Surin, Pattaya, and Phuket among
A young, healthy, well trained elephant can sell for $20,000 in
Thailand to feed the ever growing entertainment and trekking
industries. There approximately 300 trekking camps in Thailand, each
with 10-80 animals. New camps spring up every year. And there are no
less than 100 circuses and tourist attractions with performing
Thai animal brokers like the one I am about to meet are like used
car salesmen from hell. They seek out customers and marketable animals
and facilitate transactions up and down the borders. Neither the Thai
nor the Burmese governments have done much, if anything, to curtail the
illegal trade. In the case of elephants, once an animal is selected
that meets a customers specific needs she is slipped across the border
(often past bribed border guards) into Thailand where, because law
states all domestic elephants must be registered, a local sheriff draws
up phony documents much like an automobile title. The elephant and
documents are then loaded on a truck then transported to and laundered
though a large elephant center like Surin. In Surin, new paperwork is
drafted making the animal appear to be captive bred, thus legal. The
animal will then likely end up in one of various training camps in
preparation for a life in show business.
And Thailand knows how to put on a show. The Thai government honors
their national emblem at the annual Elephant Roundup in Surin (probably
the largest public elephant display and auction in the world). At this
grand spectacle I have seen blind elephants, elephants with missing
eyes, broken legs, deformed backs, malnourishment, and elephants pacing
and tearing at their chains in obvious displays of mental distress; all
bearing the physical scars of abuse. Many have had their eyelashes and
tail hairs removed for jewelry. Ivory carvings and trinkets are for
sale at the event as well.
In the arena hundreds of elephants perform historical war scenes,
throw darts, and play soccer for international crowds while
unscrupulous mahouts (elephant owners) make transactions backstage in
what I call the used elephant auction. For an even broader perspective
of the trade, one might even opt to venture a little further to the
Thai Airways sponsored camp for unruly elephants in Surin. This is an
elephant penitentiary where many of the animals are byproducts or
discards of the industry, considered too violent for the public. They
have killed mahouts and or tourists. Also worth a visit is the nearby
elephant graveyard where there are over one hundred headstones from
There are just two places that I am aware of in Thailand where folks
can have a real, and cruelty free elephant experience; one is Khao Yai
National Park where a few small wild herds still roam. The other is the
Elephant Nature Park (ENP) outside Chiang Mai. ENP is an elephant
sanctuary for rescued performing and street elephants. The one hundred
acre park is situated aside a picturesque river and is home to over 30
elephants that will never experience chains or hooks again. Sarinya
Lek Chaidee, the park founder has made it her life mission to protect
Asian elephants from excessive human exploitation. People need to
understand where these animals come from and what they endure just to
entertain tourists. Painting and tricks are taught through force, says
Lek. The park is open to visitors and volunteers who would like to
learn more about the plight of Asian Elephants.
The soon-to-be-mother roars again under the
massive strain of the 2 ton log jammed in a narrow crevasse. I wedge
myself between two trees and watch. The ground shakes under my feet;
bamboo cracks and splinters as she digs in her heels for better
leverage. The chains creak and moan under the strain. If the chains
break, I imagine she will come tumbling down on top of me and my
invaluable footage so I climb to a safer position. Blood streams from
the open wounds on her head as a result of the oozies insidious hook.
My guide is aware of my obvious empathy for this animal. He defends
the use of elephants in logging, We use them to protect the forest
from bulldozers and clear cutting. By using elephants we preserve
habitat for wild elephants. If we use bulldozers, the entire area would
There may be some truth to that theory, though I am hard-pressed to
justify one animals suffering to protect her wild cousins. In
Thailand, where elephant logging was outlawed some time ago,
deforestation and development has decimated the landscape. The jungle
habitats are simply gone, and so are the wild elephants. So yes, one
elephant and a single oozie can target a tree and remove it without
damaging much of the surrounding ecosystem, but does that justify the
suffering of the wild caught individuals involved? From an animal
advocates perspective I believe no animal should endure such inhumane
captures and training for human profit. But from a conservationists
perspective (to which I also subscribe) it is the use of elephants in
logging that helps preserve or at least delay the destruction of entire
habitats. The demand for teak and other hard woods is not likely to
subside in the near future. So, does the case for conservation and
habitat protection justify the mental and physical abuse of
domesticated elephants? Surely there must be a third option.
But what really plagues my mind at the moment is why are they working this animal so close to giving birth?
We must use her now, while we can, the 32 year old Thai broker (a
retired Muay Thai boxer) tells me later that night as we drink Singhas
by the fire.
Once she gives birth, she is useless for a long time. So, you want buy her? You will get two for price of one.
Maybe, I say, I must talk to my boss.
Why you just want Burmese elephant? he asks.
Thinking fast I reply, My boss does not like Burma government. They
abuse people and animals. He wants me to rescue elephants from Burma
and take to our new trekking park in Thailand.
All my elephants come from Burma, he says, even the baby you saw last week. She wild caught too.
He pauses to take a drink. What that in your pocket? he says pointing to the light showing through my pants.
If I wasnt sweating before I sure am now. I reach into my pocket
and with one hand switch off the recorder and unplug the hidden mic and
camera. I pull out the device and show it to him. Its an MP3 player,
I say and scroll through the music I copied to the memory card the
night before. You like Led Zeppelin? I ask as I hand him my
headphones. I crack open another beer and chug immediately aware of the
fact that I am alone in the middle of the Burmese jungle with no visa,
miles from the nearest phone
drinking beer with criminals.
So, he says, handing me back the recorder and headphones, you want buy how many elephant? I can get many many elephant.
Not sure, I reply, and take another swig, at least one for now.
How about tiger? I can get many tiger too; any age.
Michael Timmons is a field investigator and videographer for Rattle
the Cage Productions, an award winning 501c3 non-profit that focuses on
animal and environmental advocacy films. Timmons filmed the Antarctic
whale wars and is currently fundraising to continue the investigations
of the live elephant trade in SE Asia as well as complete a
comprehensive documentary on the subject. He plans to return to the
region and continue his work this fall. Visit www.rattlethecage.org for more information.
My Experience in Thailand January 19, 2012 12:25 PM
I must first admit that I have fed bananas to a baby elephant in Chiang Mai and to also taking a ride on an adult Asian Elephant with my husband as part of an officially organised trip to an Elephant Camp through the Tourist Authority of Thailand. Now after reading this thread - which brings lumps to the throat, I will share a little more.
I have always been worried about the fate of Elephants, especially as they are disappearing so rapidly from our planet. This wonderful, family-oriented, caring species has been exploited to death. There are no wild Asian elephants left in Thailand - they are brought in from Burma and enslaved into the tourist industry - I have seen them in the streets (believe it or not with tail lights flashing on them in the dark) and in the camps. Elephants are naturally shy of humans so to see them constantly reach out their trunks for bananas (which are sold to tourists at very expensive prices) so rapidly, is pretty indicative that they are very hungry.
All adult elephants are chained by at least one foot when they are not working giving rides or entertaining. In the camps, some of the elephants are rescued from more terrible conditions and have nervous, pacing behaviour - their eyes roll with terror and they can be dangerous to tourists who get too near (as most guides will warn). These elephants are never used for riding.
I have to admit that I did not know how the baby elephants were trained until reading it here. I have met a Thai man (elderly) who worked in the logging trade. He trained baby elephants and yes - the parents had to be killed (that is all he told me about the process). One of those baby elephants is now a very old adult living in an Elephant Camp in Kanchanaburi. This same man has also guided hunters into the forest to kill animals, and he has trained birds like Myna's after killing the parents and taking the babies from the nest. You might think that this man is a very bad person! He wasn't a bad person, but a very poor and uneducated one.
The problem with the practices that we Westerners find so terribly cruel,is that they are not considered as such by the locals. It is what they have done for years. What is needed, is for poverty reduction and education amongst such people. They understand Elephants (perhaps a little more than we give them credit for), but every animal, plant and resource is just a commodity with little more value than that. It will take a long time to change that thinking.
Thailand is rife with corruption and crime. The men who drag baby elephants through the streets are dangerous and very few bar owners/restaurant owners (where these poor little animals are often pushed into doorways full of loud music) will challenge them. Such exploiters find new tourists who may have never seen elephants so close, and want to do something nice for the truly cute babies they see. Especially when they are told that the baby will not be fed unless the tourists buy food for them. These criminals hold us to ransom and it is hard to send them away. Tourists are often persuaded to buy the expensive bananas or sugar cane just like I was.
Stoking the small baby's trunk - he lingered after the tiny amount of sugar cane was gone (in seconds really). He curled his trunk softly up to my face - and I caressed him very lovingly. His eyes softened and I felt a true bond with this very young baby with his tuffty hair for just a fleeting moment. But I was not feeding him now and didn't offer to pay for more, and the criminals pulled hard on his chain - the baby lingered again caressing my arm - then the stick came down on his back and he jolted backward away from me - the fear apparent in his young eyes. My own filled with tears.
I could say more about how the Elephants act in such terrible circumstances, but now I'm too upset and floods of tears are coursing down my face again at the memory.
The camps seem to be the only places of some refuge, but they are not the answer. Bangkok has banned the practice of bringing Elephants into the City, but other Cities have not.
This is a difficult subject and each time I see these Elephants (I visit Thailand quite often), I don't see an answer to the problems. How do we save this beautiful species????