People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia has released a shocking video on Friday that shows elephants being brutally beaten by handlers at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort during the 2018 King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.
The footage shows the elephants being beaten with bullhooks, a weapon that has a very sharp metal hook on one end, and the mahouts are seen pulling the animals with hooks in their extremely sensitive ears. One mahout can even be seen hitting an elephant on the head approximately 15 times, and blood appears to be visible.
"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," said PETA president Ingrid Newkirk.
Newkirk added: "PETA is calling on IBM to stop putting its name on this abusive spectacle and never support events that exploit animals in the future."
In addition, reputed brands such as Johnnie Walker, Peroni and Ferrari have also been urged to withdraw their support to the prestigious elephant polo tournament in Bangkok.
The Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort official website states that elephant polo plays a 'vital' role in the conservation of elephants in the country. "Alarmingly, overall numbers of elephants are further decreasing, making projects like Anantara's Elephant Camp vital to the success of national conservation efforts," the website claimed.
In Jan 2018, a video went viral that showed a man screaming and beating an elephant hard with a long wooden paddle for over an hour in Thailand. An anonymous investigator filmed the incident and submitted the footage to Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT). Later, WFFT posted the video on Facebook and a number of netizens responded with outrage.
Reports said that animal abuse, especially elephants, are quite common in Thailand. A WFFT report claims that there are currently nearly 3,500 elephants living in captivity, and most of them are being used in tourist camps.
The owners in most elephant camps in Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia beat the animals on a daily basis, which often starts from a very early age, apparently to "train" them to carry people or perform tricks.