Elephants used in the entertainment and tourism industries are typically kidnapped from the wild as babies and forced into a life within extreme physical constraints, heavy chains, and regular beatings with whips and sharp bullhooks. This process of “breaking in” the animals is so severe that many elephants do not even survive, and those that do are cursed with the fate of constant abuse and control by handlers. Although some people may be aware that this type of abuse is common for elephants used in attractions like elephant trekking and circuses, eyewitness footage from PETA Asia shows the shocking violence inflicted on captive elephants used for a polo charity event that is supposed to support elephants.

The above video features what is happening behind the scenes at the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, an event held this weekend by the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, which is owned by the Minor Hotel Group. The video shows handlers brutally stabbing elephants with bullhooks, pulling them by their sensitive ears, and stabbing and hammering their heads so violently that blood is drawn. We warn you, the footage may be disturbing for some to watch.

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Several European sponsors are funding the event, including Peroni, Ferrari, Johnnie Walker, and San Pellegrino, and PETA is calling on them to remove sponsorship. PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk stated, “Beating elephants into ‘playing’ polo for public amusement while claiming to fund elephant conservation is a cruel scam, and the sponsors must pull out now … PETA is calling on companies sponsoring the tournament to stop putting their names on this abusive spectacle and never support events that exploit animals in the future.”

PETA is also calling on animal advocates to speak up for these elephants and contact the Minor Hotel Group, which you can do here.

And remember to never support attractions or events that exploit animals, and be sure to share this shocking video with your network to spread awareness for the cause!

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