Video footage has emerged of an elephant being beaten at a prestigious polo event in Thailand.
The footage, which was shared by animal rights group PETA allegedly shows handlers beating elephants with bullhooks and violently yanking their ears at the 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok.
PETA said one elephant was hit the hook at least 15 times.
PETA is now demanding the companies who sponsor the event, such as IBM, Peroni, Johnnie Walker and PWC to withdraw their support.
“As it is a weekend we have been unable to raise this issue with our colleagues in Thailand but will do so as soon as possible, a spokesperson for PWC told Sky News.
“While we cannot comment on this specific situation at the moment, we would of course not support any form of animal cruelty.”
The four day event was held at the Anantara Riverside Hotel in Bangkok this weekend.
A spokesperson said it “strongly condemned the mistreatment of any elephant at any time” and confirmed the handlers who were filmed in the video have been fired.
Anantara Hotels & Resorts said it “is deeply committed to improving the lives of elephants and the behaviour in the video is wholly contradictory to the purpose, the intentions and the rules that have been implemented for the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament over the past 16 years”.
It added: “Prior to each tournament, all mahouts [elephant trainers/keepers], who originate from traditional mahout villages in north eastern Thailand, are required to confirm that they will comply with a strict code of conduct when they are selected to participate in the tournament.
“Extra security has been arranged to oversee the well-being of the elephants for the remainder of the tournament and additional Positive Reinforcement Training Workshops are now being arranged in the traditional mahout village in North Eastern Thailand.”
Times comment:- Mistreatment of elephants is commonplace throughout the country. It is shameful what these magnificent creatures have to endure during their “training” and subsequent tourist activities. It’s time things changed, starting with the street elephants.
(Source:-The Nation, Thailand)