Target: Thailand Minister of the Interior Yongyuth Wichaidit
Goal: Stop Thailand’s cruel treatment of elephants, including those already in captivity as well as in the wild, and develop sanctions and protections to safeguard these majestic creatures.
Thailand has abused elephants for years in the interest of creating a novel and marketable tourist activity; riding elephants, as well as watching them paint pictures, are a few of the highly-publicized vacation activities Thailand has developed, which rely on the forced domestication of the elephants. In addition to the direct physical toll that over-working the elephants takes on the animals’ bodies, the domestication process – which consists of torturing and abusing the elephant until its spirit is broken – is carried-out without condemnation from the government. Recently, in fact, activists assert that the Thai government has threateningly targeted wildlife protection groups, utilizing vandalism and intimidation to caution the groups against lobbying for the improved treatment of elephants.
Over the past several weeks, two Thai wildlife charities that have spoken against the mistreatment of elephants found themselves victims of violent raids, where elephants were forcibly removed from the charities’ established sanctuaries. The founder of one of the targeted groups, the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), had only a few days earlier written to a Thai newspaper expressing his belief that over half of the elephants used in tourist operations had been illegally poached.
Other vocal critics of the Thai elephant trade have faced similar retribution, which some suggest is carried-out with the complicity or encouragement of the Thai government. Antoinette van de Water, founder of the elephant conservation group Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH), summarized her experience with the jaded bureaucracy of animal rights, saying, “It’s all about the political position, and this is more important than animal welfare, I learned”.
Help stop the cruel and widespread mistreatment of elephants in Thailand – both already in captivity as well as those “protected” in the wild – by voicing your opposition to the Thai government’s encouragement of the elephant tourist trade. With sufficiently vocal opposition from the same international community that the Thai government seeks to attract with the elephants’ exotic appeal, it will be forced to reconsider its sanctioning of the industry which encourages the heartless domestication of these magnificent animals.
Dear Mr. Wichaidit,
I urge you to make a drastic change towards the treatment of elephants in Thailand. These regal, peaceful creatures are being systematically exploited for profit by private companies that seek to entice tourists with contrived demonstrations featuring sadly domesticated once-wild animals. To perform the demonstrations, elephants are forced through a grueling training routine called phajaan, which is designed to break the elephants’ will and achieve its complete submission. As you likely know, Phajaan is completely inhumane, and involves beating the elephants with metal hooks and other sharp tools, while simultaneously depriving the animals of sleep and food in an effort to force obedience.
While it may be convenient for the government to turn a blind eye to the questionable practices of the elephant industry, it is unacceptable that such abuse is allowed to continue. Furthermore, allegations that the government is actively targeting and sabotaging vocal opposition groups confirms the fact that a radical shift in ideology towards elephants is imperative.
Please take the steps necessary to achieve fair treatment of elephants in Thailand. The international tourist community, which you seek to appeal to through your commercial elephant exploits, is wholly opposed to the idea that wild animals should be tortured and domesticated for our idle enjoyment.
[Your Name Here]