The FIFA World Cup, one of the largest sporting events on the planet is a time of national pride, comradery, and celebration. But is it an excuse for animal abuse?
For the past two World Cups, Thai fans have celebrated the beginning of the soccer tournament by holding "elephant soccer matches
," where elephants are painted with the flags of the competing nations, set on the field, and ridden by elephant jockeys
As you might imagine the whole sight is ridiculous. The poor gentle giants are forced to chase a tiny soccer ball down the pitch and help their jockeys score goals.
While an elephant might not make the best offense, they make a hell of a goalie. Unfortunately, in order to block the ball, their riders make them stand still in front of the arc as their opponent takes a shot. No matter how big you are, a ball going full speed at your body has got to hurt. But the poor elephants must take the hits. As we have said, again and again, using animals for human entertainment is NOT ok.
These elephants suffer and are forced to do strange things that are not in their nature. These animals should be free to roam, and be wild, not forced to kick about balls to the cheers of spectators. These games must end. Please ask the Thai government to ban elephant soccer matches and end this cruel spectacle for good.