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The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Thailand has officially become history following PETA Asia’s exposé of the event published earlier this year! After the organization’s exposure of the cruelty witnessed at the tournament and the public outrage that followed, the organizing body of the event, the Thailand Elephant Polo Association, announced that it would not be holding another tournament. Moreover, the association will altogether end its operations in the country.
The exposé uncovered the abuse elephants used in the tournament were being subjected to during training, PETA reports. It was revealed that the animals were repeatedly beaten and gouged with bullhooks during the “game” itself as well. When it comes to “training” elephants, the procedure typically involves the so-called “breaking of their spirits.” During the abusive practice, elephants are beaten and kept in confinement, so that they finally yield to humans and are ready to do what is expected of them, for example, carry people on their backs. At that point, intense fear of further physical and emotional suffering is the only motivation for the “broken” elephants.
A dozen sponsors, including IBM, Johnnie Walker, and Vespa, decided to sever ties with the tournament after PETA Asia released its findings. The Minor Hotel Group, the owner of the venue where the event took place, announced its support for the association’s decision to end the event and reportedly will be raising funds for elephants in ways that do not harm the animals.
The end of the Elephant Polo Tournament is a big victory that will save elephants who would otherwise be exploited for the event. It is also another step on the long road to free elephants from life as attractions, be it during similar events, in circuses, roadside zoos, or other situations. Elephants do not belong in captivity and will never thrive in small enclosures, with limited or non-existing social lives, unable to engage in their natural behaviors, abused and forced to perform. It is our responsibility to speak out against injustices such as this one and stand up for the voiceless creatures of the world!
Image source: cocoparisienne/Pixabay