A hard-to-watch undercover video exposes how baby elephants are tortured in a cruel training program designed to make them fearful of humans so they perform tricks for tourists in Thailand.
The footage, shared by the non-profit organisation World Animal Protection today, shows a method called “The Crush” which breaks down the animals’ natural reaction to harm.
In the clip, baby elephants are being harnessed into tiny pens and one is even beaten so badly its blood drips onto the floor.
The elephants are also tied up so tightly they can barely move their bodies and have ropes around their feet like shackles.
One of the animals has a nasty raw wound on its head.
Most distressingly, two men approach a very young elephant who is not even at shoulder height.
One of the men then attacks the juvenile with hooks until blood drips onto the floor, staining the ground red, while the other man throws a bucket of water over its head.
The animal rights activists behind the exposé are now calling for British people to not support the demand for cruel elephant tourism once coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.
It might not always be obvious that the elephants are being mistreated, with some venues even pretending to be sanctuaries in a bid to dupe tourists.
Paid-for elephant interactions to be wary of include performing, riding, and bathing.
Audrey Mealia, World Animal Protection head of wildlife said: “We are at a turning point when it comes to our relationship with wild animals.
“The tourism industry has come to a halt in the wake of COVID-19 but it will re-build – this is the ideal opportunity to build a better future.
“We are calling on the tourism industry to revise their wildlife policies and stop offering exploitative experiences to their customers.”
Audrey added: “Right now, elephants are not being used for riding, bathing or shows. We’d like to keep it this way.”
This comes after thugs killed an elephant by inserting a lit firework into the poor creature’s mouth in India, tricking it by disguising the explosive in a pineapple.
Forest officer Mohan Krishnan said the female elephant was pregnant at the time and died in agony three days later.
He said: “When the pineapple she ate exploded, she must have been shocked not thinking about herself, but about the child she was going to give birth to in 18 to 20 months.
“So powerful was the cracker explosion in her mouth that her tongue and mouth were badly injured.
“The elephant walked around in the village, in searing pain and in hunger.
“She was unable to eat anything because of her injuries.”