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In a recent video circulating around the Internet, elephants at a zoo near Toyko are seen painting pictures with their trunks. In an apparent celebration of the Year of the Dog, a four-year-old elephant holds a brush and paints the Chinese character for “dog,” while a three-year-old elephant paints a picture of a dog on white paper.

While the video seems innocent enough, it’s anything but. The elephants may seem to be performing out of their own free will, but it’s a clear red flag that something is wrong if an elephant is doing something they wouldn’t do in nature.

Similar to elephants used in the elephant trekking industry, young elephants used for painting must be broken. Over this time baby elephants are starved, shackled, and beaten until their spirit is broken and learn to submit to the will of their captors. Once young elephants have undergone this process they can begin learning to paint.

To train the elephant to move the brush to create stroke patterns that we recognize as flowers, trees, or even an elephant, the mahouts (the elephant handler) use painful bullhooks to guide the elephant’s movements. If an elephant paints incorrectly, they are beaten or physically hit on their head or trunk.

No animals deserve to suffer for the sake of our trivial entertainment. Not only are elephants extraordinarily complex animals, elephants are highly endangered in the wild due to ivory poaching. Knowing this, we need to do everything in our power to protect elephants, not use them for silly entertainment.

Please SHARE this article with your friends and family to help raise awareness about this important issue!

Image Source: EuroNews/YouTube

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16 comments on “Why This Video of Elephants Painting Pictures of Dogs Is Anything But Cute”

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Jayme Durbin
15 Days ago

Why to people suck so much? Seriously?!?!

Jackie Foster
16 Days ago

Tourists dont support this torture of elephants

Christina Cure
16 Days ago

imitation is everything

Kim Maree Abrahams-Skinner
16 Days ago

If you want to support elephants go to proper elephant refuges...we did in Thailand & had one of the best experiences ever!

Gregory J. Green
16 Days ago

Not natural behavior!

Pearl Braganza
16 Days ago

What is wtong with these abusive humans..Makes me wsnt to scream ,so angry.

Gini Kennings
16 Days ago

Because elephants painting for human entertainment is so natural. Disgusting. I hate these places.

Marc Westler
16 Days ago

We all thought this was amazing until we realized the truth of the elephant’s forced actions. Hurting animals to get them to perform acts that are not natural for them is just wrong and must be stopped

Jackie Hutchison
16 Days ago

You must be a very gullible person to think that this is ‘cute’ to see these magnificent animals performing in this pathetic way is just so cruel and you are encouraging these money grabbing bastards to continue. PLEASE think before you give them any money

Karly M Kercheval
16 Days ago


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