Footage shows how elephants are forced to carry spectators in their TRUNKS with mahouts using sharp hooks to control them.
The animals were filmed being threatened with metal spikes to do their gruelling daily shows for crowds in Surin province, in the remote northeast region of Thailand.
Mahouts can be seen wielding sharp ‘bullhook’ weapons – a metal claw attached to the end of a piece of bamboo – above the elephants’ heads, which they use to control them.
The jumbos begin by spinning hula hoops on their trunks and standing on stools. Some elephants even do handstands.
Volunteers from the audience then lay on the ground before the elephants walk across them – coming within inches of crushing them to death with their huge legs.
Shockingly, the elephants are then made to carry spectators by hoisting them up in their trunks and parading around the show ground.
Throughout the show, mahouts are holding the notorious bullhook weapon above the elephants head, often resting the sharp point on their skin.
Animal rights group PETA today (Tue) slammed the elephant show, which partly because of its remote location has flourished and so far escaped the criticism received by others in Thailand.
Jason Baker, PETA vice president of international campaigns, said the elephants in the video were only performing because of the threat of violence and called on tourists not to attend.
He said: ”These elephants are not performing because it’s fun. It’s because they’re scared of the abuse they will get if they don’t. This is evident with the bullhook – a weapon with a sharp hook on one end -being held right next to them.
”If people knew that their admission tickets were promoting the abuse and kidnapping of elephants, they would surely never enter.”
One visitor to the Elephant World in Surin province said that the shows run every day from 10am until 2pm with each elephant having to perform several times.
They added: ”The show is very popular. On weekends and public holidays it is full. The people who visit are mainly domestic Thai tourists that visit but sometimes there are foreigners, too.”
Last month, China’s biggest tour operator severed ties with a similar show near the capital Bangkok following sustained pressure from animal rights group PETA.
However, the show in Surin is around 300 miles away and in the impoverished and undeveloped north eastern Isan region of Thailand.
The elephant park appears to have escaped the scrutiny of larger elephant shows in popular tourist destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket.
PETA spokesman Jason Baker today (Tue) added: ”All elephants forced into show business in Thailand have first been broken in the most sickening, horrifying, and often deadly of ways.
”The Thai elephant industry is notorious for taking still-nursing baby elephants away from their mothers, immobilised, beaten mercilessly, and gouged with nails for days at a time. This treatment breaks their spirit, and some don’t survive.
”They are then forced to spend the rest of their lives in captivity and perform in shows like this one where they are beaten, whipped and gouged with bullhooks to force them to perform difficult and meaningless tricks for human entertainment.
”When not being forced to perform or give rides, these elephants usually spend most of their lives chained, unable to take more than a few steps. PETA urges everyone to stay far away from any place that forces elephants to perform tricks or offers rides, to avoid directly contributing to these sensitive animals’ suffering and demise.”
The manager of Elephant World, Prakit Raumpattan, responded and said today (Tue) that the bullhooks are only used as a deterrent and ”never used during training or in the shows”.
He added: ”The bullhook is just to make sure the elephants don’t misbehave. The elephants are still wild animals, no matter how much we train them and try to make them tame. They can still be unpredictable to the bullhook is used as a threat to stop them from doing anything dangerous or attacking people.
”We have trained the elephants since they were babies in the same way that people train a dog and they will be given rewards such as bananas, but they’re never abused.”