Ban the barbaric tradition of 'crushing' juvenile elephants to 'break their spirit', prior to use in the Thai tourist trade.
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Phajaan - The Barbaric Tradition Of 'Crushing' Juvenile Elephants To 'Break Their Spirit' Prior To Being Used In The Thai Tourist Industry!
Baby elephants are taken from their mother’s at a very young age, usually 3 – 6 years old but often younger. After a young elephant is in the captivity of its handlers, the aim of the Phajaan program is to break its spirit. Babies will be kept in small crates similar to those found in the intensive pig farming industry. Their feet will be tied with ropes, their limbs will be stretched, they will be repeatedly beaten with sharp metal and other tools, they will be constantly yelled and screamed at, and they will be starved of food. Bull hooks (a tool used in most forms of elephant control) will be used to stab the head, slash the skin and tug the ears. The next time you see an Asian elephant used in trekking, elephant rides, movies, in a circus or any other form of entertainment, take a look at the state of its ears. Captive elephants often have shredded or torn ears from their tissue being ripped and pulled away in the training process. They also often have scars on their foreheads from deep lacerations caused by beatings.
Ropes are used to tie and stretch the elephant’s limbs, these will eventually be replaced with tight, constricting chains. The Phajaan may last for weeks, most elephants going through it when they are 3-6 years, but they can be younger depending on the age at which they were taken from their mothers. They have no rest from physical torture and mental domination, and gradually their spirits break and their handlers achieve control.
Traditionally in Eastern Asia a mahout will be sole charge of a single elephant. As a mahout ages, his elephant is passed down through his family line. An elephant’s mahout will not be involved in the physical abuse during Phajaan. In the final stage of the Phajaan, the elephant’s mahout will bring the animal its first meal with water, and will be the one to ‘release’ the elephant and lead it away from the crate. After weeks of torture, of mental and emotional abuse, of loneliness, confusion and separation, the elephant sees this human figure as its savior – the one it trusts. This is just another stage of mental and emotional manipulation, of course, but it is how a particular mahout gains such immense control over its animal.
Tourists, before you use an elephant 'attraction', bear in mind the torture that the elephant has gone through for your pleasure!!
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