After a PETA Exposé Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Abuse at Tournament, Major Companies Withdraw Support

For Immediate Release:
31 May 2018

Muscat – In response to shocking video footage released by PETA showing handlers repeatedly beating elephants in Thailand for Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, event sponsor Oman Air has joined more than a dozen other former sponsors – including Angus Energy, Campari Group, Ecolab, GROHE, Häfele, JDE, Sunraysia, and Vespa – in informing PETA that it will no longer support the cruel spectacle.

“By withdrawing their sponsorship, these companies have set a positive example for those that still support such abusive events to follow,” says PETA Vice President of International Operations Jason Baker. “Elephants don’t belong on polo fields, where they’re forced to obey confusing commands under the constant threat of punishment.”

In a statement provided to PETA, Oman Air declared, “Moving forward, Oman Air will not participate in any sponsorship … that will indirectly in any way be related to unfair [or] unethical treatment of animals.”

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 sharp metal hook on one end – which they also used to pull the animals by their extremely sensitive ears.

Even after PETA released this exposé, the organisation continued to document cruelty to elephants used in the tournament, which the Minor Hotel Group – the owner of the Anantara brand – is either unable or unwilling to stop. This included more beatings and an elephant who was left chained in floodwater all day.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” The group is calling on Minor Hotel Group to make this year’s elephant polo tournament the last and for sponsors who haven’t done so already to withdraw their support.

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