PETA Issues Alert About Behind-the-Scenes Cruelty at Minor Hotel’s ‘Conservation Event’ Scam

For Immediate Release:
March 9, 2018

Bangkok – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has obtained upsetting video footage showing handlers beating elephants at Anantara Hotel’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament – sponsored by IBM, Dairy Queen, and other big-name brands – which touts itself as a “charity” event “for elephants”. The disturbing footage shows mahouts in the holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing the captive elephants with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one side) on their heads and sensitive ears, in addition to leaving them outside all day in sweltering 34-degree Celsius heat without shade.

“Beating elephants who are used in a game they do not understand while claiming to fund conservation efforts for their species is a scam,” says PETA Asia Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA and its affiliates worldwide are calling for an immediate end to this spectacle of suffering and for relief for the elephant victims of this fiasco disguised as a fundraiser.”

As this video of Thailand’s secret “training” camps reveals, still-nursing baby elephants are dragged from their mothers, immobilised, beaten mercilessly, and gouged with nail-studded sticks for days at a time. After their spirits are broken, they spend their lives in captivity, forced to perform unnatural acts – such as playing polo – for public amusement. Between polo matches, they are frequently kept shackled so tightly that they can barely take a single step.

Because of the cruelty inherent in elephant polo matches, numerous tournaments have been cancelled or lost sponsors – and Guinness World Records has struck all mention of elephant polo records from its pages.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” In a letter sent today, the group is calling on Minor Hotel Group, which owns the Anantara brand, to make this the last polo tournament and for sponsors to withdraw their support.

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