The animals look extremely malnourished and distressed
Fair warning: if you’re an animal lover like me, you will probably find this story distressing.
Horrifying footage has been circulating on social media, showing an emaciated elephant being forced to dance to rave music as foreign tourists look on in the background.
The heartbreaking clip shows the infant, who appears to be severely underweight, and two adults nodding their heads and stamping their feet, as music blasts out of the speakers – much to the amusement of the visitors.
Trainers at the zoo in Phuket, Thailand, then scrape the animals with hooks, which is believed to act as a reminder to the elephants that they could be poked with sharp objects if they don’t perform, according to a report by the Independent.
Investigators who filmed the upsetting footage also saw one elephant being jabbed by a trainer, while some of the older animals were made to swing hoops around with their trunks.
I’m sure you’ll agree, these majestic animals should not be reduced to this.
As one of the elephants moves away from the podium it is supposed to stand on, a trainer then inflicts force by pulling it back into place by its ear.
According to reports, the animals are forced to take part in these kind of performances three times a day.
Behind-the-scenes footage also shows the animals in a clear state of distress, sucking their trunks and dancing repeatedly. It’s enough to make any animal lover distressed.
Amy Jones of Moving Animals, the organisation behind the undercover footage, said in an interview with The Independent: “Tourists’ money pays to keep this young elephant in captivity, and she will spend the rest of her life, forced to perform day after day.”
“Shocking photos also reveal her skeletal body, raising concerns of possible malnourishment and exhaustion.”
Even to the untrained eye, it is obvious that these elephants are not in good health.
Ms Jones also revealed that she saw an elephant alone in a concrete enclosure, tugging on her chain and apparently trying to get to the investigators, which must have been absolutely heartbreaking to witness.
Since the release of the disgusting footage, a petition has now been signed more than 24,000 times, demanding the establishment’s closure.
It read: “The tiny infant is made to ‘perform’ for tourists up to three times a day in shows that include ‘raving’ to loud music, ‘playing’ musical instruments and performing tricks.”
“Eyewitness footage and images have also revealed her skeletal body, raising concerns of possible malnourishment and exhaustion.
“When she is not performing, she stands on display for tourists, all while silently sucking on her trunk for comfort – a sign of distress seen when infant elephants are without their mother.
“We must stop this from being her fate for the rest of her life.”
The petition concludes by comparing the young elephant to the Disney character Dumbo: “No elephant should have to live in such heartbreaking conditions. And ‘Dumbo’ deserves to spend the rest of her life in a place where she can feel happiness and peace.”
I absolutely love elephants, and it breaks my heart to see them like this. If you want to help, you can sign the change.org petition here.