Thai authorities support protection of elephants
I am writing in response to the agency report headlined 'Tourist boycott call at elephant cruelty' (South China Morning Post, October 22), concerning the scenes from a video taken by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) showing baby elephants being tortured as part of their training.
The Thai government appreciates the endeavours of Peta in looking after the welfare of elephants throughout the world, including Thailand.
I can assure readers that the government of Thailand has never condoned or tolerated any ill treatment of elephants.
With regard to the unfortunate scenes in the video taken by Peta, it should be further pointed out that, given the language spoken, it is very unlikely that the individuals who were shown were Thai nationals. Given that one can only make a guess regarding their nationality or identity, it would be wrong and unfair to make any unsubstantiated claims.
I can assure readers that the Thai government is determined to promote the protection and conservation of elephants in Thailand. The National Elephant Institute, which is staffed by well-trained specialists, provides comprehensive protection for elephants. Moreover, on April 19 the government announced regulations setting out clear-cut standards and requirements for elephant training camps in Thailand. The government is also in the process of drafting the Elephant Bill to ensure further legal safeguards for the well-being of elephants in the country. Most importantly, it is moving forward in the drafting of the Elephant Protection Act.
The government funds and assists local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and is working closely with international NGOs, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from the UK, in an effort to protect elephants against harm and exploitation.
The campaign to discourage tourists from travelling to Thailand is not the right way to resolve this problem, which deserves joint action. Constructive co-operation would be a better option.
The National Elephant Institute of Thailand would be more than happy to co-operate with Peta to improve the measures of protection of welfare of elephants in Thailand.
Royal Thai Consulate-General