What can be done to stop elephant cruelty?

I’ve just returned once again from Phuket, where it was so sad to see the poor elephants tied to a tree, with their legs chained, at Liam Sam Rd, near the Peach Hill Hotel & Resort in Kata Beach.

The elephants cried every night and the only exercise they seemed to get during the whole day was to go the Dino Park Restaurant to attract tourists.

I just wondered when someone was going to do something about this.

Paula Champagne.

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I have already checked the condition of these elephants, in response to a complaint from the Khon Rak Chang Foundation (which protects elephants in Thailand).

The two elephants are female and they are chained because they are quite active and aggressive; they are five or six years old, and they are like awkward teenagers.

They are fine and healthy but they are chained up to control them. If they were not chained, they might wander off, or chase someone.

The little elephant, Sara, is used to promote Dino Park Restaur. I told her owner and mahout she should not work so late – elephants usually sleep at about 8 pm – and they accepted this.

Chains are a normal way of controlling animals which are kept close to humans, and it happens everywhere in Phuket where animals are close to tourists. Just as humans have laws to control their societies, the elephants are chained, and this control doesn’t hurt them at all.

I checked the elephants and could find no wounds, blood or evidence of maltreatment, but I did tell the mahout not to try to make them sit in a certain way, as they are elephants and so can’t do what humans do. I will keep an eye on them.

Jirayu Niranvirot, a Phuket Provincial Livestock Office veterinarian responsible for taking care of elephants in Phuket.

Answered on December 15, 2004.
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