Tourists planning to ride elephants in Thailand are being urged to think again as photos of the alleged abuse towards the animals have gone viral on Twitter this week.
While the Thai government discourages elephant rides, these attractions reportedly persist in some tourist locations across the country, subjecting the animals to unimaginable torture from a young age.
The photos, which were first posted in April, are believed to have been taken in Phuket.
The images show the elephants with gut-wrenching wounds on their heads and bodies, presumably inflicted by keepers training them for business with sharp metal canes.
The photos have since shocked both tourists and local authorities, who claimed that several initiatives are underway to combat the problem.
Such initiatives reportedly include policies, research, rehabilitation of injured animals and prosecution of illegal wildlife trade.
“We never support tourists riding the elephants,” a spokesperson from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) told Yahoo News Australia.
“Please don’t ride the elephants and don’t support this business.”
Since 2011, nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has exposed the horrors elephants in Thailand endure in the hands of cruel keepers.
“Baby elephants are taken from their mothers, tied down and beaten so severely that they bleed and scream, all in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks for tourists.”
In 2014, international watchdog Traffic reported that some of the elephants come from Myanmar. Young elephants are “mentally broken and prepared for training” before being put on the market.
“In Myanmar, domesticated elephants are used to corral wild animals into pits where older protective members of herds are often killed and the higher value, younger animals taken. The young are then transported to Thai-Myanmar border areas and then mentally broken and prepared for training before being sold into the tourism industry in Thailand where they are put to work at tourist camps or hotels.”
You can stop inhumanity tortured on elephants by stop riding an elephant! pic.twitter.com/oYtPd0wXzI
— abang da balik (@faizalghazaly) April 12, 2019
Twitter user @faizalghazaly, who shared the photos, wrote, “You can stop inhumanity tortured on elephants by stop riding an elephant!”
The post has since received more than 18,000 retweets and 7,000 likes, with users condemning “humans” for the horrifying evidence of cruelty.
Human who rides elephants are mean and they just deserves to die.
— zhaniskr (@zahshukor) April 12, 2019
Real monster are humans.
— 🖤 (@fent28) April 13, 2019
It’s sad to know people are out there doing these things without considering the poor animal’s feelings. People need to get their shit together and end this cruelty!
— 9 years of 1D (@rayofsunshineLT) April 14, 2019
Fucking shocking…. Poor things
— Stevie (@StevieThomaslfc) July 30, 2019
Omfg, why!!!!! Such barbaric brutally inflicted on these beautiful gentle giants. Absolutely horrific 😡😡😡😡😡😡
— Colette (@Colette25882678) July 31, 2019
STUPID BASTARDS… MONSTERS…STOP TORTURE THE ELEPHANTS NOW 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬
— CYNTHIA LISS MACRUZ (@MacruzLiss) July 31, 2019
May karma get all those bastards that cause pain and suffering to these innocent animals 😔 😢 💔 😡
— Rina Patla (@patla_rina) July 31, 2019
This is horrible and needs to stop.
— Archie Gwashavanhu (@mukandi) April 17, 2019
These people should die
— lyna bou🥀 (@ly_a17) April 15, 2019
— Lionel Vasquez (@PAPERCHARLIE) April 14, 2019