Target: Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra, and President of India Pranab Mukherjee
Goal: Stop cruel training rituals that subject elephants to physical and psychological pain
Although the elephant is seen internationally as a religious symbol in countries such as Thailand and India, this has not stopped the cruel ritual of “elephant crushing.” Crushing involves disciplining untamed elephants for domestication using methods like putting the elephants in cages, physically punishing them with objects, and other forms of negative reinforcement. Crushing is known as an age-old ritual, and comes in many forms and varies from one country to another.
Crushing is a common practice in India and Thailand, and the method there involves an elephant being placed in a cage and tied up with ropes to keep the elephant from moving. This restricts any form of kicking or head turning. The perpetrators believe that the method will “crush the elephant’s spirit” and make it learn obedience, so the animal becomes submissive to its owner.
National Geographic reported incidents where Thai owners used nails to stab the ears and feet of elephants undergoing crushing. Other reports highlight the beating of elephants with sticks and chains, and even starvation of elephants. Trainers believe that in order for the elephants to listen, the animals have to be scared of their trainers. They believe that instilling fear and pain in elephants will make controlling them easier.
Dear Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and President Pranab Mukherjee,
The practice of crushing elephants is not only inhumane, but also cruel and unnecessary. When these rituals take place, the elephants are tied up and must try their hardest to fend for themselves while being restrained by their owners. This heartbreaking ritual deserves national and international attention. Although there are campaigns and conservation groups that are fighting to ban crushing, there needs to be more done.
The degree of barbaric behavior that elephants undergoing crushing are subjected to varies, but the practice is common throughout much of Asia. As the leaders of India and Thailand, please put a stop to this madness. Elephants are majestic creatures that need to be free, not compliant and submissive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons