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Cruelty behind elephant rides in Thailand

Cruelty behind elephant rides in Thailand

Dec 11th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Cruelty behind elephant rides in Thailand

I'm heading to Thailand in two weeks and have heard lots about elephant rides in the forests. Sounds fun, but I was curious about how the elephants are treated, did some research, and found this sobering article:

madisonmichelle is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 05:10 AM
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I wouldn't be too concerned about that article if I were you; journalists always look for extreme cases to spice up their stories. All animals, including humans, are "broken" into conformity when necessary. Generally speaking I believe most animals enjoy contact with humans.
TexasSlim is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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This article is not just sensationalist journalism - it refers to a respected UN report. Further the NG is not a trashy mag along the lines of the National Enquirer!

I disagree strongly with TexasSlim - keepers of captive elephants in zoos and sanctuaries around the world no longer use punishment as a method of behavioural control and successfully use other methods. The punishments described here are particularly cruel - and in many countries would be outlawed. I can see that animals in captivity need to be trained but cannot see why it would be necessary to break them into conformity when other methods which are not cruel are available and effective.

The Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre does not treat elephants in the way described in this article so tourists who wish to see elephants can go to see them there rather than other camps and remain comfortable with their conscience.

I could not condone an animal or human being treated in this way and I am sure that many others feel similarly. Thank you for sharing the findings of your research, madisonmichelle.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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I read that article a few months ago and I have to agree with Bella Bluebell. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for mistreating an animal and people should look into these things and not go to places that do not treat animals humanely.
laurieco is online now  
Dec 12th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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and that's why I only go to the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center and only recommend it.
glorialf is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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I haven't been to Chiang Mai before so I have no first hand experience of elephant camps.

I would really like to go to one but having read this article and done some other research, I am a bit wary. I would hate to end up at some sort of circus type show which I think I would find quite distressing.

Although while hunting around on virtualtourist.com I found some comments about elephant camps in general that concerned me.

It was in the Chiang Mai Travel Guide under the heading Tourist Traps in Chiang Mai - Elephant camps, where the general concensus was that they are all pretty bad.

From what I have heard, Lampang is not like that, can anyone confirm this? I notice on the website they perform "shows", are they circus acts?

I have seen the Elephant Nature Park recommended, does anyone know anything about this and how it compares to Lampang?

violetm is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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I think either the Elephant Nature Park or the Lampang ECC are fine. The ECC gets more people I believe. The Nature Park is more expensive. We're going to the ECC.

We've been to a place in Koh Samui that was just a ride place, and the elephants seemed fat and happy to me, and we saw no evidence of abuse there. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Around Chiang Mae there are many places that offer elephant rides...some may be OK, some may not...I don't know as I've not visited them.

I don't get the impression that the show at Lampang is a circus act at all. You can see their website at www.changthai.com I've heard very good things about them from others who have visited.
KimJapan is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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Why would anybody stab nails into elephantís feet? I donít believe that. Elephants are very expensive animals and their owners want returns for their investments. Puncturing the animalsí feet with nails would prevent the elephants from walking and working, it would maim the animal and possibly cause tetanus or other infections that could also main or kill the animal.
Most animals are beaten and broken into submission by their owners - cattle, sheep, dogs. Iím not saying itís right but itís a fact of life. On the TV last night I saw the police in Sydney violently thrashing humans with batons. Those people were also being beaten into submission.
TexasSlim is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 03:50 AM
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I don't know anybody that would beat their dog "into submission" and if I did, you can bet I would be on the phone to the police and ASPCA. I have had many pets over the years and have never laid a hand on any of them except to pet them and show affection. There are much more effective ways to get an animal to stop annoying behavior.

Because something is "a fact of life" does not mean it should be continued or condoned, and frequenting a place that would do such a thing is, in essence, condoning such behavior. If people stop going to elephant camps that abuse the animals and let it be known that they won't go unless such abuse stops, the abuse will eventually be curtailed. The best way to get a point across is to hit them where it hurts the most, i.e., in their pocketbooks.

Comparing this to what is going on in Sydney is not a very apt comparison. The people in Sydney were rioting and the images of them being beaten was disturbing (not that I feel particularly sorry for people that go around beating up people because of their ethnic background) just as the images of protestors during the Vietnam war being beaten by police or Rodney King being beaten were disturbing. Does it happen? Yes. Does that make it aceptable? NO!

A big difference is that elephants and other animals are not rioting or resisting arrest. They are being taken, in many cases out of their natural habitats, to work for or entertain humans. The ethical implications of this is something else, and I won't go into here as this is a travel forum. But if we are going to use and exploit animals for our own purposes, the least we could do is treat them humanely and with respect. That means
laurieco is online now  
Dec 13th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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Hit post too soon...

...not condoning such actions and boycotting places that treat animals badly.

Sorry about my rant but this is a topic that is very close to my heart. I cannot stand the thought of an animal being abused or in pain.
laurieco is online now  
Dec 13th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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We are friends here, many of us posters, so don't lets create friction, I am sure whatever opinions people have we do not like at all any form of cruelty, and I for one am an ardent lover of all creatures, these days I cannot swot a fly! And will 'nurture' a scared little frog into the garden and open a window to let a beetle fly out. I will tempt a crawly onto a piece of paper and take it into the garden.
Having said that, the other side of the argument (discussion I should say ) is that in Thailand dogs are permitted to live their lives free, overall, and they are alive, it is sad when reading comments from people compalining about their existance. I cannot judge, I don't think anyone can, but it would be unfair to single out any country as being better or worse, the simple fact that any dog without a collar and tag in many countries is simply 'exterminated', in Thailand on the whole they live free and happy. Thanks goodness !
More perhaps could be said about the extermination of wild animals in many other countries.
JamesA is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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TexasSlim - there is film footage of this practice - just because you can't understand why anyone would do this, doesn't mean it didn't happen. If you really want to prove to yourself that it can happen, take a look at PETA website if your stomach can tolerate it. I am with Laurieco on this one.

JamesA - I don't think Thailand is being unduly targeted - WWF and other national and international charities list atrocious practices in many countries. Just because the dogs are left to roam and scavenge on the streets doesn't justify or nullify this activity.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Bluebell, I did state

" I cannot judge, I don't think anyone can"

Curelty to any living creature is obviously unjustified, that goes without question.

JamesA is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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I was not singling out Thailand. Of course cruelty extends beyond all borders. I was merely trying to say that if you go to a place that uses animals, whether it's a zoo, elephant camp etc, take the time to learn how the animals at that particular place are treated and, if they are not treated humanely, take your business somewhere else. They will hopefully get the message.
laurieco is online now  
Dec 13th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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I agree with what laurieco just said...I feel that I have a responsibility to investigate the activities I choose to do while traveling...whether they involve animals, the environment, and particularly people. As a geography graduate student, I consider msyelf to be culturally sensitive, and I understand that elephants have historically been important to the Thai culture. Today, however, elephants are used mostly for tourism, and if tourists are the market that elephants are abused for, then I don't want to lend my support.

Also, TexasSlim, you ask "why would anyone stab nails into elephant's feet?" Elephants are one of, if not THE strongest animals on Earth, and they are WILD animals. In order to make them submissive, they have to use harsh techniques. It's not the same as a dog, cattle, or sheep...these are domesticated animals. When you are talking about wild animals, "training" them is another ballgame. THink about trying to train a wolf versus your golden retriever.
madisonmichelle is offline  
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