Stop Beating Elephants With Nail-Studded Sticks at Festival

Target: Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

Goal: End the abusive treatment of performing elephants at a cultural festival in Thailand.

Ever since the 1960s, elephants have been made to parade and perform various tricks as part of the Surin Elephant Round-Up held in Thailand each November. While originally intended as a relatively modest demonstration of the bond between the people of Surin Province and their local elephants, it has over time evolved into a cruel spectacle where elephants are forced to engage in unnatural behaviors like playing soccer or throwing darts at balloons. According to advocacy groups, mahouts (elephant caretakers) use a variety of cruel methods to coerce the animals to perform. Bull hooks and nail-studded sticks are frequently employed to keep mature elephants in line, while the younger ones are subjected to confinement and beating to break their spirit.

Currently, around 200 elephants appear in the week-long festival. More are continually added as new baby elephants are kidnapped in the wild jungles of Burma to be used as future performers. Videos and pictures from past years’ events reveal that the elephants are kept chained together in cramped spaces when not performing. Many bear scars from the training, and appear to suffer from repetitive stress syndrome. There have also been reports of people riding elephants with blood streaming from their foreheads.

All of these acts constitute both physical and psychological torture to animals so renowned for their intelligence and sensitivity. It’s bad enough that they are made to perform repetitive and menial tasks, but the additional accounts of mistreatment are absolutely unconscionable. We can do better for these remarkable creatures, and should demand that the Surin Elephant Round-Up stop abusing elephants each year.


Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I’m writing to ask you to stop the abusive practices that take place as part of the annual Surin Elephant Round-Up in Surin Province. Although the festival is intended to honor the bond between humans and elephants, it sadly showcases that this relationship is in part based on mistreatment. The blatant displays of horrific abuse that have been captured on video and in photographs appear to show a disregard for the elephants’ well-being. Unfortunately, this is not where the abuse begins. It starts years before, when young elephants are kidnapped, confined and beaten into submission. From start to end, the elephants are subjected to pain and deprivation.

There must be an alternative way to honor elephants during this cultural festival. We demand that you take action to intervene on the elephants’ behalf and ensure that they no longer face this inhumane treatment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Marcin Nowak

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  1. “So many people insist they are against animal abuse, cruelty, suffering and the inhumane treatment of animals, yet they don’t understand they are actively engaging in and supporting egregious suffering, abuse, cruelty and inhumane treatment when they eat animals and their ‘by-products.’ If you are against cruelty, suffering and inhumane treatment, then you go vegan. It’s just that simple.” – Sarah Kiser

    • Bev Woodburn says:

      I do not eat meat and I am definitely against all the unimaginable atrocities committed against the innocent Worldwide. BUT the Asian countries are known as the vilest of animal torturers Worldwide. They torture all innocent and defenceless animals to death that are for consumption. They show no compassion, no empathy, no decency, no integrity and no moral ethics whatsoever when it comes to the innocent and defenceless.

  2. Rotten Ill minded nation you are to have such festival. You are disgrace to world

  3. Monica Shepherd says:

    This parade is to honour the elephant. Instead it is paying tribute to cruelty, deprivation and downright torture of these majestic animals. The act of elephant rides is torturous for the animal. The chair weighs as much as 100 lbs plus people is causing permanent damage to their spine which is totally different from other mammals. As for football ??? This reflects badly on Thailand. Have instead a competition as who can make the best elephant model and parade them around.

  4. Wendy Morrison says:

    People whom torture elephants with this nail boards need to have the exact same torture done o them repeatedly.

  5. Cynthia Mattera says:

    Stop living off the misery of these poor animals. Get a real job and send them all to a sanctuary. Shame on you for keeping them chained, abused, and miserable. They did nothing wrong and you treat them like criminals…STOP IT!

  6. Maria do Céu Rodrigues Aguiar Lopes Tavares says:

    For this and others reasons I don’t spend my money with tourism at these countries

  7. Joanne Folkins says:

    FFS! Animal abuses is the main reason I won’t travel to certain countries.

  8. Lisa Allred Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & shared❗😠

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