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The Cruel Practice of Elephant Crushing
by campaigner Anna Beech
You’re exhausted, you’ve been standing up for days, crushed into a tiny space, disorientated, hit repeatedly, stabbed in your side, ears and legs with a nail spike, sleep depraved, with no water or food to nourish your pained and exhausted body… Hell? No. Crushing? Yes. This happens to EVERY elephant you see carrying tourists, appearing in a live circus acts, pulling logs up an impossibly steep hills or begging on the streets of pulsating, strange, loud, polluted cities.
This is the reality for elephants in Thailand, Burma and Cambodia.
There is a small sanctuary for such creatures to escape to, as long as they’re lucky enough to be found and there is the money available to buy them from their owners. An amazing, brave, inspirational woman called Lek established the Elephant Nature Park over 10 years ago. Despite extreme financial difficulties she succeeded in founding Elephant Nature Park along with Adam Flinn in 1996. ENP rescues abused elephants and rehabilitates them on its 50-hectare plot in Northern Thailand, near the city of Chiang Mai.
Sangduen Chailert (Lek) was born into a remote mountain community in Northern Thailand in the 1960's. Her maternal grandfather was a tribal man of the forest and Lek's jungle forays with him led to an early and organic understanding of the wonders of nature. Against the backdrop of poverty she obtained a university education - something practically unheard of considering her circumstances.
Lek gives her elephants a life – a peaceful end to a tortuous existence at the hands of ignorant humans. Amazingly, many of the elephants are willing to be touched by visitors to the Sanctuary, who are welcomed every day to learn more about the residents. A weekly group of volunteers come and help the Sanctuary feed, clean and wash the elephants. Staying for seven days, the volunteers get to see exactly what goes into running a Sanctuary for 37 elephants, ranging from 1-80 years old.
The Sanctuary needs support. YOUR support. This is what needs to be stopped.
Crushing is an unnecessary practice. Lek has shown, with young elephants she’s raised herself at the Sanctuary, rescued after their mothers have died, that crushing is not necessary in order to ride an elephant, a hook is not needed when controlling an elephant, and to crush an elephant for 4-5 days at a time to break its spirit is just torture, not a requirement in order to dominate such creatures. Like with horses, we are not arguing that elephants should not be used for domestic service. What we are asking, at the very least, is for elephants to be respected. Stabbing, beating, starving and crushing is not respect. It is torture, and it must stop.
Not only that, in order to STOP this brutal torture, everyone who reads this article should do at least three things:
1. Sign our petition to put an end to crushing, HERE
2. Volunteer at ENP, or go and visit the Sanctuary for a day, it’s a tranquil and peaceful place. Check out ENP’s Facebook site - HERE
3. Donate to ENP by visiting their website – every little helps.
4. Finally, write directly to the Thai Government to ask them to develop policy which will STOP crushing once and for all. Only a change of policy will achieve this – sign the petition HERE
For more information about Elephant Nature Park and the work they do please visit www.elephantnaturepark.org