For Immediate Release:
9 March 2018

The Coffee Club, Sunraysia, and Other Sponsors Urged to Pull Support From Polo Tournament After Investigation Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Cruelty

Sydney – In response to shocking video footage released this morning by PETA Asia showing handlers repeatedly beating elephants for Anantara Hotel’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, PETA is calling on the event’s Australia-based sponsors – including The Coffee Club, Downia, Pelago Luxury, and Sunraysia Five Star – to stop funding the cruel tournament, which touts itself as a “charity” event for elephants.

The footage, shot from nearby hotel and apartment windows, shows handlers in a holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing the captive elephants’ heads with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a long, sharp metal hook on one end) and pulling the animals with the hooks by their extremely sensitive ears.

“Beating elephants into ‘playing’ polo for public amusement while claiming to fund elephant conservation is a cruel scam, and the sponsors must pull out now,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “PETA is calling on The Coffee Club, Sunraysia Five Star, and all other companies sponsoring the tournament to stop putting their names on this abusive spectacle and never support events that exploit animals in the future.”

Elephants used for polo tournaments, rides, or any other amusements endure violent training to break their spirits, during which they’re regularly beaten. Between matches, they’re often shackled so tightly that they can barely take a single step. Because of this cruelty, numerous tournaments have been cancelled or lost sponsors – and Guinness World Records has struck all mention of elephant polo records from its pages.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – also urges the Minor Hotel Group, which owns the Anantara brand and is the organiser of the event, to end the tournament.

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