Victory: Following a PETA Asia campaign and eyewitness exposé of the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Thailand, Minor International PCL founder and Chair William E. Heinecke has announced that he is “fully supportive” of the recent decision by the Thailand Elephant Polo Association—the main governing body behind the tournament—not to seek permission for a 2019 tournament and to cease its operations in Thailand. These elephant polo games are no more!
Elephants Beaten With Bullhooks for ‘Benefit’ Polo Match
Beating elephants who are used in a game they don’t understand while claiming to fund conservation efforts for their species is a scam.
Breaking eyewitness video footage shows elephants who were forced to participate in the cruel Anantara Hotel’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Thailand last weekend being repeatedly struck and gouged with bullhooks – sharp steel-tipped rods resembling fireplace pokers – and their ears being violently yanked. One mahout can be seen hitting an elephant on the head approximately 15 times.
Several Australian companies sponsored this cruel tournament.
As the video above shows, elephants suffer for this tournament. Yet The Coffee Club, Pelago Luxury, Downia, and many other companies sponsored the event.
Beaten and Broken
The only way to make elephants tolerate having humans ride around on their backs for polo games or any other reason is to “break” them. They’re chained and beaten with bullhooks or other weapons and constantly threatened with violence to keep them afraid and submissive.
If we look honestly at the reality of life in captivity for elephants compared to the life they’d have in nature, we can see how much trainers have degraded these magnificent animals. Elephants are highly social beings who thrive in matriarchal herds, protecting each other, caring for their babies, and traveling many miles a day. They experience joy, sadness, and fear. Their rituals of mourning over the deaths of family members rival any that humans have developed. But throughout Thailand, baby elephants are routinely beaten and subjected to other egregiously cruel forms of training. Their complex emotional states and multifaceted relationships are left in tatters. Using these endangered animals in silly spectacles is shameful. Thailand should be focused on protecting these majestic elephants in their natural habitats, not exploiting them for human amusement.
You Can Help Stop This
Tourism company Tiger Tops, the organiser of the International Elephant Polo Competition, recently announced that it would stop hosting the event in order to take a stand against cruelty to animals. In 2011, London-based Guinness World Records Ltd. removed all references to elephant polo from the Guinness World Records books because of the abuse that elephants endure for these events. And following discussions with PETA India, Carlsberg Group withdrew its sponsorship of the Polo Cup.