PETA Reveals That Captive Elephants Are Hit With Weapons, Forced to ‘Play’ Polo at Exploitative Event

For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2019

Kathmandu — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has obtained video footage showing handlers viciously beating elephants at the 15th annual Chitwan Elephant Festival in Nepal. In response to seeing the video, Renault, MINISO, Carlsberg Group (maker of Tuborg beer and Somersby cider), United Beverage (maker of Pulpy), Mega Bank, Kumari Bank, JGI (maker of Ruslan Vodka), Chaudhary Group (maker of Wai Wai noodles), Everest Insurance, and Hotel Seven Star have announced that they’re ending their association with the festival, but Mount Everest Group and NRNA have taken no action to sever ties with the cruel event.

The disturbing footage shows handlers repeatedly hitting and jabbing elephants—with bullhooks (spear-like weapons with a sharp hook on one end), sticks, and makeshift wooden knives—on their heads and behind their sensitive ears to force them into subservience in order to make them race, give rides, and “play” football and polo. The video shows one elephant being beaten continuously for nearly a minute, and an eyewitness saw another who had watery discharge seeping from one eye, indicating an injury or infection. Eyewitnesses also documented that many elephants had deep, bloody wounds around their heads and ears. A young girl was seen covering her mouth in shock after witnessing a baby elephant being beaten with a stick.

“Deeply sensitive and intelligent elephants are being used as punching bags at this despicably cruel event,” says PETA Senior Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker. “PETA is calling for an end to the festival and urging companies to cut ties with this spectacle of suffering immediately.”

As this eyewitness video of the captive-elephant industry in Nepal shows, still-nursing baby elephants are dragged from their mothers, immobilized, beaten mercilessly, burned with torches, and gouged with sticks for days at a time. After their spirits are broken, they spend their lives in servitude.

Just last year, an explosive PETA investigation into the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok caused numerous companies to end their sponsorships, and the event later shut down. Elephant-polo tournaments have also reportedly been canceled in India and Sri Lanka. Nepal is the last country in the world still hosting these spectacles.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

Photographs and broadcast-quality video footage from the investigation are available upon request. For more information, please visit