Protect Elephants from the Practice of ‘Breaking their Spirit’

Target: Government of Thailand

Goal: To ban cruel training methods for captive elephants in Thailand and Burma, and to let them live in peace in a sanctuary.

In Thailand, Elephants are a significant aspect of culture and are a popular tourist attraction. The training methods inflicted upon these gentle giants is a tragic example of how little these magnificent creatures are respected. A practice called “Phajaan” is used on these animals where a baby elephant’s spirit is broken so it will be submissive to humans for the rest of its life. The elephant is tied up in a confined pen and beaten mercilessly with sharp instruments. This barbaric practice is used when an elephant is around four years old and usually the calf is never reunited with its mother. Even if they do meet again, the mother does not recognize its now despondent and heartbroken baby.

The Majority of Thailand’s Elephants are captive and have endured this horrific treatment. These elephants give rides to tourists, perform, or even beg on the streets for sympathetic tourists to pay to feed them. Elephants are highly emotional animals, in fact they share many of our own feelings. Their moods are visible through their expressions such as sunken eyes and drooping ears. They form close- knit bonds with their herds and if a family member dies they will actually cover the body with leaves and are known to revisit the site. In Thai culture elephants are iconic symbols of power and strength. In Buddhism a white elephant represents the mental strength achieved after taming the mind.

It is tragic to know that Thailand’s symbol for strength is being broken and heartlessly tortured. Tourists must be more aware of the corrupt industry they are feeding when they travel to Thailand, this cruel practice should not be supported by anyone. In Chiang Mai there is an elephant nature park which is a sanctuary for sick or injured elephants and tourists can visit this place and donate money to a good cause. Elephants respond to gentle training methods and can form close bonds with humans.

Thailand’s government must implement laws to ban the “breaking their spirit” training method and release the captive elephants to a sanctuary where they can find peace. Elephants have walked this earth far longer than humans. These ancient and empathetic animals embody our own complex emotions and the many gentle spirits broken are filling the world with sorrow.


Dear Government of Thailand,

Elephants are being trained using a cruel method called “Phajaan,” in which these gentle giants are taken from their mother, roped in a confined space and beaten mercilessly. Elephants are emotional animals and an iconic symbol of strength and power, yet their spirits are being broken by this horrific practice. Humane methods of training elephants are an even more effective way to domesticate elephants and should be the only legal way of training them.

Please do not let this barbaric practice continue, ban the “Phajaan” training method, and any type of cruelty inflicted upon elephants. These animals should not be performing, begging on the streets or carrying tourists, they should be sent to a sanctuary so they can live in peace. Tourists can still enjoy watching the elephants in a sanctuary, in fact there is already one such operation in Chiang Mai. Elephants deserve to be respected by us, after all they do share our complex emotions.


[Your name here]

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. Annemarie Hosper says:

    Are you guys in Thailand (and in enire Asia) out of your bloody minds?!? For God sake…THINK! Breaking the spirit of an animal……kill it at least then immediately cause you already killed it in fact! How unbelievable cruel to hurt very sensitive animals like elephants like this……those species can’t do without their family and have a very good memory…they will NEVER forget what’s done upon them!!!!! I urge Thailand to create better laws for animal protection….cause animals do deserve out respect. We humans can’t do without them and we take away their dignity by being so harsh on them. Thai people should be deeply ashamed of these methods and practises…’s no need to treat your elephants this way. Elephants are living creatures with a soul, they can feel fear, pain, joy…just like humans, let’s respect this! Stop this torture, it will harm the Thailand reputation badly….tourists don’t want this! The world doesn’t want this. Be civilised and stop these insane barbaric methods, show some modesty and respect to life!!!!!

  2. Susana Hazelden says:

    Such horrible, disgusting creeps. This and the sex exploitation of children in Thailand is a big stain on the reputation of the otherwise beautiful country. I also knew a Thai woman who once told me whenever there was an accident with gore she would run to watch. It seemed very sadistic and voyeuristic. These impressions have so revolted me that I would never buy anything, donate money, or travel there.

  3. Carolyn Ellertson says:

    I do not understand what is inside the soul of people who can do these things without concience, regardless of what country they are from. I is a stain on them as human beings, which makes me embarrassed to even belong to the same species! Do they feel nothing inside their chests? Short of stopping their exploitation of elephants, the least they could do is learn humane ways to train them. It CAN be done! The United States now has teenagers gentling and schooling the wild horses that are at risk of destruction. Are you telling me a country that has done this for centuries is not smart enough to learn something new? Give me a break..




  5. micheline dm says:

    Heartwrenching!I have no words to describe my hatred towards anyone who harm physically and mentally/emotionally innocent sentient loving elephants.Yes,Asians,elephants do LOVE their own family,their own clan,their own bloodline but YOU ASIANS in hurting them are worse than a snake,you are the venom of this world who kills the natural habitat of all animals.I wish the Ebola virus on each of you!

  6. mariana robertson says:

    Fucking shocking

  7. Sam Outhorn says:

    How do such abominable people get away with all the things they do and be seated in great pomp at international negotiating table? … An outrage by itself – not to mention a threat to countries hopefully a little more civilized…

  8. Emily March says:

    Is there evil in those people’s soul or is sheer ignorance at the bottom of it all? Sickening whatever. – Give them a piece of your mind, everybody !!!

  9. The ignorant tourists are the biggest culprits of this confronting abhorrence! These people would not have a thriving ruthless evil trade if the $$$ were not pouring in by mindless tourists who inspite of all the exposure this gruesome trade has been given for many years, still would jump onto the backs of these broken suffering struggling wonderful loving creatures!! Stop the tourists and kill this despicable trade!

  10. Devjani Chatterjee says:

    Please stop torturing the innocent animals.

  11. Devjani Chatterjee says:

    Please dont torture these innocent animals….my heart cries to see this.

  12. I love the world. But there is so much wrong. Tortured animals. Human trafficking. Poison food. Corrupt officials. Polluted waters. Fishing beyond the limits. Killing dolphins, whales and other endangered animals. Slautering elephants. Rhinos. Lions. Giraffes. Gorillas. Birds


  13. Dumb ass stupid foreigners

  14. simone spetz says:

    This cruelty to these beautiful brilliant creatures..inexplicable. .unforgivable. ..what kind of human being is capable of such attrocity?????

  15. When shall we stop behaving like despicable humans,! Animals fight and kill also but only for food and territory dominance, we who are supposed to be evolved go one step forward and kill, maim and torture for entertainment.

  16. Beth Nordmeyer says:

    A country is judged by how it treats its animals, Thailand is crap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


44103 Signatures

  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Richard Ohlendorf
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Nikolai Carstensen
  • Maximillian Jackson
  • jessica Wehrli
  • Debbie Biere
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Carole Mathews
1 of 4410123...4410
Skip to toolbar