Elephants are one of the sweetest and smartest animals on this planet. The thought of people mistreating them is hard to fathom.
In Thailand, at The Khao Kheow Open Zoo elephants are abused. It’s sad that the people that are supposed to be training them are actually the ones hurting them.
In the pictures below it is clear that the elephant was suffering when one of its trainers put it under water. The trainer did not only force the elephant underwater but also stood on its neck and was holding its ears forcibly.
At this zoo, most elephants are being forced to learn how to swim through mental and physical abuse. Extremely sharp hooks are used when the elephant’s don’t respond the way the trainers want them to. Catherine Doyle, director of science, research and advocacy at the Performing Animal Welfare Society, explained to the Dodo:
“For the bullhook to be effective, an elephant must be taught to fear the device and learn that compliance with
commands avoids a painful consequence such as being hit, stabbed or beaten. As long as an elephant associates the bullhook with pain, and remains fearful of it, the mere presence of the device is menacing enough to control an elephant.”
The Khao Kheow Open Zoo director Attaporn Sriheran contrastingly commented,
“The show is considered exercise for the elephants. Normally they go into pools to play with water anyway. The zoo then designed another pool for the elephants to swim and at the same time allows children and visitors to learn about their behavior as well.”
Many animal rights activists have been questioning the zoo. They’re trying to stop the abuse from happening. Videos of elephants trying to swim while underwater have been permeating on social media. Lots of viewers are feeling disgusted by what they see.
Along with social media, many Travelers are no longer putting their money towards seeing this. TripAdvisor and other websites are taking these attractions off of their websites due to the animal cruelty. TripAdvisor has stopped selling tickets to zoos in general. James Kay, associate director of TripAdvisor, explained to USA Today,
“There isn’t really a universally agreed to criteria on what’s on the right side or wrong side of the line. We needed to say where we stood and where the line was for us.”