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Family of Asian Elephants ©STAE
Family of Asian Elephants ©STAE

Press release -

You can help stop the torture and abuse of Asian Elephants


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Story for World Elephant Day - Thursday 14thAugust 2021

For ‘Letters to the Editor’ page – issued 9th August 2021

Dear Editor

You can help stop the torture and abuse of Asian Elephants

I founded Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) in 2015, having witnessed the most extreme violence committed on baby elephants in India to ‘break the spirits’ for easy use in tourism – isolation, starvation and regular beatings and stabbings. My shock was eclipsed by the outrage of learning of the leading role played by the UK package holiday market in driving and profiting from this grotesque trade.

Numbers of Asian elephants have crashed from millions to barely 40,000 today, with 40 per cent in cruel, non-breeding captivity, routinely abused and tortured to ensure submission for ready exploitation in tourist attractions. Now they are highly endangered and as ‘megagardeners of the forests’ nourishing and sustaining the lungs of the earth, we destroy them at our peril.

STAE’s research reveals the UK’s shameful role in this pernicious trade. Over 1,159 UK companies sell 238 brutal venues through thousands of adverts. Many are members of the leading trade body ABTA, whose ‘guidance’ to operators is voluntary, lacking any enforcement or sanctions, and widely ignored. Self-regulation has proved futile for decades. Numerous promises of change by operators have been broken.

The Government has now promised to introduce this Autumn the ‘Animals Abroad Bill’ to ban the sale and promotion of all brutal venues, and for which STAE has relentlessly campaigned. But it must have teeth – not just token fines for multi-billion-pound exploiters but potential prison terms for serial offenders. The Bill must not be watered down as it proceeds through Parliament.

All readers can help show the UK public’s support for change by signing STAE’s petition

Visit the STAE website for further guidance on how to avoid the dangers to tourists of attractions reliant on abused, captive Asian elephants, proven transmitters of TB and Covid, and provoked beyond endurance to launch lethal attacks.

Let’s save the Asian elephants together by ensuring only ethical and sustainable sanctuaries prosper, where elephants exhibit natural behaviour in herds and can be enjoyed from a safe, respectful distance.

Duncan McNair
CEO, STAE – Save the Asian Elephant
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