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Old 10th September 2007, 12:11 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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Default Thailand's Barbaric Elephant "Training"

Thailand's Elephant "Crushing" Ritual

It's a sound not easily forgotten. Just before dawn in the remote highlands of northern Thailand, west of the village Mae Jaem, a four-year-old elephant bellows as seven village men stab nails into her ears and feet. She is tied up and immobilized in a small, wooden cage. Her cries are the only sounds to interrupt the otherwise quiet countryside.

The cage is called a "training crush." It's the centerpiece of a centuries-old ritual in northern Thailand designed to domesticate young elephants. In addition to beatings, handlers use sleep-deprivation, hunger, and thirst to "break" the elephants' spirit and make them submissive to their owners.

"The people believe that to control the animal they have to do something to make the elephant feel fear and pain," said Sangduen "Lek" Chailert, a well-known Chiang-Mai-based activist who runs Jumbo Express, a program bringing free veterinary care to these animals. She's an outspoken critic of the crush.

Video at PETA: Torture in Thailand

What can you do ?

Please support Elephant Nature Park - Northern Thailand's conservation project for visitors. . Remember that even a small donation can go a long way in Thailand.

Elephant Heaven is a sanctuary for abused elephants run by Lek Chailert, a well-known Chiang Mai-based activist who campaigns on their behalf. Her exposure of the brutal crush and her conservation campaign has raised international awareness and also provoked local resistance.

More about Elephant Heaven :

Reporter's Notebook: Elephants Heal at Thai "Heaven"

Do not support, in any way, elephant camps where elephants do "tricks" or may have been subjected to cruelty.

Please forward this message to animal lovers around the world.
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