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the first two photos were featured in several online newspapers and tumblr posts. this is the text from one of the articles:

"elephant toktak, nine, only has to reach out her trunk to slam the ball through the net with ease. toktak and six year old malie have been trained everyday by their keepers on the island of koh samui in thailand. organizers at the island safari centre, which cares for the animals, say the huge beasts have to undergo rigorous training to learn the basics of the popular game. it takes two to three months of intensive training to teach them basics, but fortunately their standards are improving with each passing day.”

now consider the bottom photograph and text by brent lewin:

"a baby elephant braces for a hit during a training session in a karen village in burma. the training session is coined the ‘crush’ as its goal is to break the elephant’s spirit. wild elephants are typically tied up and beaten for three days straight and left to starve. …during [this] training session, a baby elephant tried in vain to turn away and shield herself from the blows. her mother was tied up where she could see what was happening. i don’t think i have ever heard an animal roar that loud. the earth was shaking. it was definitely the cruelest thing i have seen a human do to an animal. …the baby was beaten until she began to cry, her spirit broken. there was a point when the elephant was just resigned to what was happening and stood still. the life in her eyes disappeared. it was a look that was haunting.”

i can’t speak to the training methods of island safari, but the crush (negative reinforcement, using sticks with nails) “is a ritual that exists, in varying forms and degrees of cruelty, in virtually every country in asia that has domesticated elephants,” explains richard lair to national geographic. “domestic elephants are considered livestock.”

as brent lewin notes, “some progressive camps use positive reinforcement instead of beatings, but they are rare. try to avoid supporting tourism that uses elephants to perform circus tricks. these outfits almost always chain their elephants up all day separated from one another.”

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    This is horrifying. How can you do this to another living being?
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  23. theshipcomesin reblogged this from awkwardsituationist and added:
    Please boycott any place that puts an animal in captivity and makes of them a joke. I like my elephant to be elephants...