Elephant calves are bred and trained to supply the tourism industry in Thailand.
The Maesa Elephant Nursery Elephant Nursery keeps over 80 animals on its premises, all explored at tourist shows. Elephants live pregnant and young follow the same fate as their parents
Dozens of elephants are being cruelly abused and held captive in a camp in northern Thailand, where they are raised to become lucrative “artists.”
The cubs are taken from their mothers when they are only two years old and forced to learn tricks for presentations at the Maesa Elephant Elephant Nursery.
Moving footage inside the facility by the NGO Moving Animals – for a photojournalism and filming project that works at the exhibition of animal industries around the world – shows young elephants being hit and pierced by bullhooks pulled by the ears and chained, swaying in danger.
This type of abuse is part of the “phajaan” – a traditional process of breaking the spirit (through suffering, humiliation, pain and deprivation) of a young elephant.
Elephants are tied with ropes, confined in tight wooden enclosures, starve, and are repeatedly beaten with hooks, nails, and hammers until their will is crushed and destroyed.
Activist Amy Jones said the group’s investigations across Asia repeatedly showed elephants facing “relentless” physical and emotional suffering.
“It is heartbreaking to think that these innocent babies at Maesa Elephant Nursery are at the beginning of a lifetime of captivity that will include being spiked with sharp hooks, cruel performances and severe psychological stress,” she said.
“Travel companies trick tourists into supporting animal abuse by paying for these shows where abuse and cruelty prevail.”
“To save another generation of elephant calves from a life of misery, agencies should be banned from selling tickets to the ‘elephant attractions’.”
More than 80 elephants live in captivity at the site, which has been operating for over 40 years.
The goal is for elephants to entertain tourists who come to see the cubs in the nursery and watch the older animals perform the shows.
They are taught to paint pictures with their trunks, throw sharp darts at gas balloons and kick soccer balls at goals.
They are also forced to pull and stack heavy logs.
More than 20 animals participate in the presentations that are performed three times a day.
The camp is one of many where puppies are abused and exploited for money.
This year, the baby elephant named Dumbo from Phuket Zoo (Thailand) made headlines when he was forced to perform until his legs were broken. He died.
Concerns about rearing systems in many elephant nurseries have surfaced with the release of the images.
An adult elephant living on site had already given birth to six babies.
Because elephants spend 18 to 22 months in pregnancy, the mother usually spends most of her life pregnant.
They are often forced to keep working and performing during pregnancy.
Moving Animals and Save the Asian Elephants – a non-profit association – are calling for laws that make it illegal for companies to advertise or profit from selling tickets to places like the Maesa Elephant Nursery.
To express your support, sign the petition aqui.