Victory! Johnnie Walker and Campari Group End Sponsorship of Cruel Elephant Polo Match
For Immediate Release:
28 March 2018
Olivia Jordan +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]
VICTORY! JOHNNIE WALKER AND CAMPARI GROUP END SPONSORSHIP OF CRUEL ELEPHANT POLO MATCH
After a PETA Exposé Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Abuse at Tournament, Leading Companies Withdraw Support
London – In response to shocking video footage released earlier this month by PETA Asia showing handlers repeatedly beating elephants in Thailand for Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, event sponsors including Johnnie Walker, Campari Group, and PwC have informed PETA that they’ll no longer support the cruel competition, which touts itself as a charity event for elephants.
“By withdrawing their sponsorship, these companies have proudly set a positive example for those that still support such abusive spectacles to follow,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “Elephants belong in the wild, not on polo fields, where they’re forced to obey confusing commands under the constant threat of punishment.”
In a statement provided to PETA, Campari Group said, “The Group condemns any form of violence and mistreatment towards animals and for this reason has decided to immediately suspend its sponsorship of the event.”
The footage, shot from nearby hotel and apartment windows, shows handlers in a holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing the captive elephants’ heads with bullhooks – weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end – which they also used to pull the animals by their extremely sensitive ears.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that elephants used for polo tournaments, rides, or any other type of entertainment are forced into submission through violent training, during which they’re regularly beaten. Between matches, they’re often shackled so tightly that they can barely take a single step in any direction. Because of this cruelty, numerous tournaments have been cancelled or lost sponsors – and Guinness World Records has struck all mention of elephant polo records from its pages.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.