Dalai Lama To Thai Prime Minister: ‘Stop The Elephant Beatings’

For Immediate Release:
11 December 2002

Dawn Carr 020 7357 9229, ext. 224


Bangkok — On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister of Thailand, urging him to intervene to stop the systematic, widespread torture of baby elephants used as a draw by the country’s tourism industry. Baby elephants are routinely torn from their mothers, immobilized, and mercilessly beaten with nail-studded sticks for days at a time in an attempt to ‘break’ them for use at tourist-frequented elephant camps and ‘sanctuaries’ that are nothing more than cruel circuses. Many do not survive the beatings.

PETA has obtained new video footage that shows terrified baby elephants screaming and futilely struggling, their bodies covered with bloody wounds. PETA has taken the unusual step of calling for a tourist boycott of Thailand until the government enacts and enforces laws that would prohibit these cruel training techniques.

‘Thailand’s elephant camps are promoted to animal-loving tourists under false pretences’, says PETA’s Director of Captive Exotic Animal Department Debbie Leahy. ‘No kind person will want to set foot in Thailand if they see the torture of these beautiful baby elephants.’

In the past few years, His Holiness has also asked India to crack down on the leather industry for its cruel treatment of cows during transport and slaughter and has written to officials in Taiwan, urging them to improve the atrocious conditions at pounds for homeless dogs.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

The Dalai Lama’s letter to Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is available upon request.