Animal Rights Charity PETA Slams Thai Zoo Following Shocking Footage
One of Thailand's biggest zoos has been slammed by animal rights charities after shocking footage showing animals being mistreated was released.
In the clip, elephants tied to short chains can be seen showing signs of 'psychological distress' by rocking their heads from side to side, while crocodiles are forced to swim in dirty waters strewn with rubbish including plastic bags and bottles.
Elsewhere, unhappy-looking tigers are fed meat from sticks by tourists.
Animal rights campaigners are urging tourism companies to cut ties with the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo after the shocking conditions the animals are kept in have been exposed.
In a previous investigation by National Geographic, their reporters say they found a four-year-old 'emaciated' male elephant which had a limp and a huge sore on the side of his head.
Meanwhile, an elderly tiger was seen sporting a huge dental abscess.
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When National Geographic got in touch with owner Uthen Youngprapakorn, he said the fact that both animals were alive was proof the zoo was taking good care of them. He also threatened to sue the publication.
The popular tourist spot features elephant shows put on for visitors, something animal charity PETA has condemned, explaining 'zoo handlers jabbed elephants with sharp metal spikes and forced them to give rides and perform tricks such as bowling, painting, and dancing'.
The charity added that the elephants were not allowed to interact with each other or socialise and they 'continuously swayed back and forth, a symptom of psychological distress'.
In a statement to the Phuket News, PETA said: "They [the animals] appeared to be frustrated and depressed, as they were denied mental stimulation and any opportunity for social interaction, both of which are extremely important to their well-being."
Chinese firm Ctrip - which is Asia's biggest online booking agency and handles millions of tourists every year - has announced it will be ditching the zoo and no longer selling tickets to the facility to holidaymakers.
PETA has praised Ctrip for its decision, with spokesperson Jason Baker saying: ''Ctrip did the right thing in nixing tickets to this despicable, abusive, brazen operation.
"PETA is calling on all travel companies still offering excursions to such facilities to follow Ctrip's compassionate, business-savvy example and strike exploitative businesses from their itineraries.''
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