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About brownrabbit

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  • Birthday 03/06/1962

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  1. Great idea! Let's just close down the entire industry! And do what with 3500 captive elephants? Let them run amok? Put them down? Let them starve to death? What about the human lives at stake here? Who cares? Mick is in charge - the Changs are on him! Now, let's unglue those eyes - though I may need a bull hook to open your's. You gave me a National Geographic article criticizing all forms of animal tourism across the World written by a Westerner who spent a few days visiting 2 camps in Chiang Mai. Seriously, that was the best you could offer? www.google.com then insert "bull hooks and abuse?" Great research! I can see you are evidently well read and now an expert on all things to do with mahouts, bull-hooks, and captive elephant care. Good job! But being serious now, it is laughable that your proof the bull hook is solely used to abuse elephants was that (even if there was absolutely no proof anywhere in that article, other than suggestion that at one location a mahout used a bull hook unkindly). The article was not even about bull hooks. It was about animal tourism with a section being critical (and showing only one side) of elephant tourism in Thailand. It was also full of untruths (e.g. this is the normal trajectory of a captive elephant in Thailand? Err. No it isn't! Elephant tourism has changed massively in the last decade alone - so how can it possibly be a lifelong (quoting 55-75 years) trajectory? Awful article. Besides, surely the debate then is about having good mahouts and good practices where there is elephant tourism? Obviously, that is only right and good. Such places, and i have been to several, should only be supported and celebrated. I am not defending all places. I am not saying there are places that will employ cheap labour and untrained mahouts (again I can name places). I am pointing out that to tar ALL with the same brush is harmful to everyone - not least the captive elephants. Someone has to feed and care for them. They eat and cost. A lot. The issue then is what is the best form of elephant tourism to ensure the wellbeing and safety of elephants AND those that risk their lives caring for them. But no. You cannot get your head around the fact that this is a complex issue. You simply want to end ALL FORMS of elephant tourism. What then is your solution? What would you do with the 3500 odd captive elephants? How would you support those who care for them now and their families? Where would you put the elephants (they cannot survive in the wild - nor is their the space if they could). All of the options are much crueler evidently. Unless, you have a better idea that nobody has thought of yet despite this issue being discussed for years. Unlike the lightweight, superficially researched article on the subject (well, it wasn't exactly on the subject of bull hooks at all) you kindly shared, here is a link to a website actually created by experts in the field. It is safe to say that all of those who created this are far more educated on captive elephant issues in Thailand than anyone posting here is. For those who would like to actually learn a thing or two about a complex issue then you're welcome: http://acewg.org/who-we-are/. (look - not a Jemima from Surrey who has spent a week at a 'sanctuary' and now claims to be an expert on captive elephant care in Thailand - but these are actually educated "experts" in the field of captive elephant care - many of them are actually from here (as well as the West for those anti-Thai - a common theme here) and have lived and worked with elephants all their working lives!). Doctors, vets, professors - not barstool lecturers found across TV. While here are informed answers to common questions...such as "How are elephants trained?" "What is the bullhook?" http://acewg.org/frequently-asked-questions-on-elephants-in-tourism/ Here are some great snippets that will help: On training... "Every captive elephant must have some training to allow it to understand common verbal commands and to accept veterinary treatment. To not train an elephant under human care would be irresponsible. In the days of wild capture, the elephant was often tamed using very harsh techniques, as this wild creature had no previous experience with humans. Old videos labelled as “Phajaan training” can be found on the internet and show cruel training methods using a crush to confine the animal and ‘break its spirit’. But such methods are thankfully much less common today." On bull-hooks... "The training tool called the hook (also called a guide or bullhook) is used to guide an elephant. It consists of a stick with a curved hook at the end. In a free contact environment when humans are in close and unrestricted contact with elephants, the hook is used to guide and cue the elephant with the purpose of ensuring the safety of both humans and elephants. In a free contact situation, where elephants and humans share the same space, a hook should be carried at all times for safety. The tool was developed over thousands of years to allow a mahout to get an elephant’s attention in an emergency (e.g. sudden loud noises or when elephants fight) or potentially dangerous (potential ingestion of chemical poisons, litter, fallen electric wires etc.) situation. In any situation where an elephant may panic, this tool can be used to ensure the safety of the elephant and those around him/her without causing damage or injury to that elephant. Not carrying a hook is dangerous for both the elephant and any people around. Likewise, using an inappropriate tool, like a machete (knife) or spear to bring an elephant under control can be dangerous and cause harm to the elephant. Some mahouts carry nails in their pockets, which is completely inadequate for controlling an elephant but allows them to give the impression they are using voice alone – commonly done for aesthetic reasons only. The advantage of the hook is that it extends the reach of the arm to allow a safer way for the mahout to signal a command to an elephant." Now, for those who still can't accept the complexity of these issues I have kindly taken the time to explain to you, I suggest you stick to your barstools and the Chang served in bottles.
  2. I've read that before and no - National Geographic is like saying its the BBC. Don't question it. I shall. I am more than happy to provide some actual readings and quotes from experts who work with elephants on the ground. What I will ask here is how would you urgently move an elephant that has been freaked out by a dog? As is the case of just one elephant I know. So her safety and the safety of those around her is paramount here. Offer her some bananas and sweetly whisper in her ear to move her out of harm's way? You evidently do not work with elephants. Again it's quite simple - you can go the route of saying NO BULLHOOK and then you have deaths on your hands (though you probably think that is good as you imagine all mahouts are sick elephant abusers), or you can accept that if the urgent and essential need arises, a bullhook may be required to help ensure the safety of those nearby, the mahout, and indeed the elephant themselves. Going back to the police and gun analogy. Just because an officer may carry a gun for safety and protection, does not mean they use it. Could someone use a bullhook cruelly? Yes. Is the existence of this tool mahouts have carried for hundreds of years proof of abuse? No. I've spent time with many mahouts who carry bullhooks. ALL the mahouts at TECC carry bullhooks. If they are abusing their elephants they have hidden the non-existent wounds pretty well - especially they are open to the public and host hundreds of visitors each day. Likewise the mahouts I've spent time with in Chiang Mai province. When you regard elephants as family, harming them is the last thing you would think about doing. Again, just because an officer carries a gun, does not mean all officers are trigger happy murderers. Does that help? Do not make this a black and white issue. It is evidently not. So to put this back on you. What should a mahout use instead of a bullhook as a guide? How would you move an elephant of the urgent need arose to ensure the safety of other elephants, animals, humans and yourself? How would you guide and move an elephant it the elephant's health and well-being depended on it? For example when needing medical care. Sugar cubes? Also, you are aware that many mahouts (including some very experienced) have lost their lives and NOT had a bullhook...mainly because of such harmful claims that bullhooks are solely tools of abuse and torture. Elephant Nature Park has seen at least two mahouts lose their lives and claims to operate a "no hooks, no chains" haven for elephants. But again I guess those lived are dispensable. Boon Lot - a haven for Western elephant saviours who do not want to see mahouts with a bullhook also recently lost a very experienced mahout, guess what, no bullhook. Hope seeing how complex it is and how simplying such things can really be dangerous...indeed it literally can be a matter of life and death.
  3. Care to share the reading? Not sensationalist animal rights pieces or blogposts from someone from the West who has spent a week "finding themselves" volunteering at an elephant sanctuary - but actual experts in captive elephant care describing how and why mahouts who love their elephants (and many regard as family) would see this as normal practice.
  4. I agree. If this did happen then let's hope they are rightfully held to account. But because it was on the Australian news does that mean it is not staged? Which Australian news channel filmed it and did they name the location? Or do you mean they merely showed the WAP released footage - that is doing the rounds on global mainstream media and social media? The distinction needs to be made here. I am not sure why the place has not been named yet. Perhaps there is a reason but it seems a little odd to not go public and name and shame - especially when someone from the Thai government has made a request. In captive elephant training you DO need to separate mother and baby sadly - until the training is finished. How long this takes (1, 2, maybe 3 months) depends. Then the elephants can be returned to mother/aunt, family. This separation happens usually when the elephant is 3-4 years old (so during those very early formative years they are always, rightfully, together). Do not equate the pajaan (a traditional elephant blessing) and elephant training with being the same as recycled shock videos put out by Peta and WAP. Even if the video was genuine - it does not prove this is standard practice just because they claim it does. There are obvious reasons why they would push that narrative. Remember, these are captive elephants that spend their lifetimes around humans. With no training and bond established between mahout and elephant, the chances of injury and deaths to humans living alongside and caring for elephants is significantly higher. Learning is part of all life. It is part of captive elephant life too. It is important to note that training methods and practices have also changed for the better. Also, what about elephant healthcare? If a mahout can't guide and have some sort of control over his elephant, how can the elephant be easily treated when healthcare is needed? Which will be often during the course of an elephant's (hopefully long) lifespan. Note - elephants in captivity tend to live longer now than their completely wild counterparts. This completely contradicts the belief that all mahouts and camps are abusing and exploiting their poor elephants. Remember, many years ago elephants were used in logging - a far more brutal and demanding form of employment. Then there is the small (rather huge) matter of bull elephants. Think for a moment how big and potentially dangerous they are. Then there is musth - a time when a bull's testosterone levels are 60x their norm! Think about the people who risk their lives caring for these bulls - yet going by the majority of posters on social media - just get slated from positions of total ignorance. There is a reason why these supposedly "no hook no chains sanctuaries" do not have many bull elephants. There is one at the much-lauded ENP - sadly confined to an enclosure after apparently taking the lives of at least two mahouts (but maybe more). This elephant did NOT undergo training. Rest of life in an enclosure doesn't sound like the best way to see out a lifetime. Training then may be a very small price to pay for a captive elephant (and those charged with caring for them). So going back to what this whole issue is about. Captive elephant training IS needed. That DOES NOT mean unethical practices and cruel abuse. Nor does it mean permanent separation from mother and baby. If someone has employed such methods they are certainly not representative of all as those who work with elephants have said. I would not be so quick to fall for the one-sided narrative here promoted by animal rights organizations with vested interests (and heavily reliant on emotional donations that flow in - especially when the sad piano music set to a backdrop of almost unwatchable elephant pain and cries). Heartbreaking edited video footage with a sad piano playing on in the background is a powerful combo. If the video was genuine and not staged then I await the places and names. I then HOPE action is rightfully taken. However, it is plainly wrong to tar all those in captive elephant care with the same brush or equate essential training practices with elephant torture and abuse. There are amazing camps where elephants are afforded all they would need to live long and healthy lives. Captive elephant practices have also changed SO MUCH for the better. Yet someone still needs to feed and care for them and they need a big income to sustain their huge appetites. To criticize all those caring for elephants (as many posters here are doing, and 95 pc of Western social media users commenting on the subject do) and suggesting they are all cruel and heartless animal abusers and exploiters is unhelpful, not least to the elephants themselves.
  5. Agree. World Animal Protection are a huge London based international animal rights organisation with a huge influence in both the MSM and on social media. If government ministers are publicly asking for names and locations then why are they not forthcoming? There may be a reason but seems a tad suspect. It means 2 things... 1. It was staged to push a false narrative and ensure the donations keep flooding in and the only places that get tourists (when tourism restarts) are those run and supported by the WAP 2. It is a genuine example of animal cruelty for which those guilty should/and seemingly will, be held to account. Regardless, it is NOT proof that this is how all elephants in captivity are trained. To use a shock video to try and eliminate ALL forms of elephant tourism is not only harmful to those who care for elephants and those dependent on them for their livelihoods, but also the elephants themselves. They need an income. Someone needs care for them and to feed them. They eat. A lot. And no - not all 3500 odd captive elephants can simply be held in observation only 'sanctuaries' until they eventually die of old age....nice idea that it is.
  6. The bullhook is used as a guide. Having one allows mahouts to have a tool that can be employed if the urgent need arises - often to ensure their safety, the safety of those around them, and the safety of elephants themselves. Police officers carry guns - doesn't mean they use them, nor that they shoot people indiscriminately. Take away the bullhook and the replacements (hidden nails) or alternative (nothing) is far worse.
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