Published on : Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Separated from their mothers, fastened with metal hooks, and at times deprived of food, many Thai elephants are tamed by force before being sold to lucrative tourism sites that are increasingly advertised as ‘sanctuaries’. Such inhuman acts have been condemned by cruelty-conscious travelers.
In many places in Thailand, elephants are “broken” to interact with tens of millions of tourists who visit the country every year.
Several animal welfare advocates have argued that the taming technique – where baby elephants are removed from their devoted mothers at the age of two, is cruel and outdated.
It is also little-known, and is one of many dark aspects of an evolving elephant tourism trade that is often hidden from view of tour operators and travelers.
Elephants were phased out of the logging industry about 30 years ago, and this left their mahouts unemployed.
Hence, they turned to Thailand’s flourishing tourism industry, with a mushrooming sector of amusement parks offering elephant rides and performances.