Media Centre

Guiness Book Removes Records for Elephant Polo

For Immediate Release:
25 January 2011

Contact:
Sandra Smiley +44 (0)207 357 9229, ext 229; SandraS@peta.org.uk

London - After learning from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) how elephants used in polo are often beaten with sticks and gouged with heavy rods that have sharp metal tips, London-based Guinness World Records Ltd has informed PETA that it will remove all references to elephant polo records from its iconic book Guinness World Records.

Wrote Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, "Having read the correspondence, everyone at Guinness World Records is in agreement that we need to review all our records involving animals and ensure a strong stance on any involving even the hint of cruelty. For this reason, we have agreed to rest, among others, records for elephant polo". Glenday goes on to note that the company no longer ratifies records pertaining to fox hunting, bullfighting, camel wrestling, and other activities that involve the tormenting and killing of animals.

"By removing all records pertaining to elephant polo, Guinness makes it clear that abusing animals is not something to regard as an 'achievement' but rather something to condemn for the shameful act that it is", says PETA Vice President of International Operations Poorva Joshipura. "Elephants belong in the wild, not on polo fields, where they are forced to obey confusing commands under the constant threat of punishment."

In addition to being beaten, elephants used for polo are often kept outside in full sun with little shelter or water. When not being forced to "play" polo, they are typically kept in chains. In the letter to Guinness, PETA points out that many of the elephants used for polo have been taken from their families in the wild and subjected to a life of chronic physical ailments, social and emotional deprivation and premature death. These fascinating and complex beings are denied their most basic needs, including the companionship of other elephants and the ability to roam across vast expanses. Elephants mourn their dead and experience joy, sadness and fear - just as humans do.

PETA's correspondence with Guinness World Records Ltd is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.