Showing posts with label Unacceptable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unacceptable. Show all posts

Thursday, 6 July 2017

#Thailand leads the pack for Asia's abused tourist elephants

Twice as many elephants work in Thailand's tourism industry as the rest of Asia combined, with the vast majority kept in "severely inadequate conditions", a new report revealed Thursday.

The world's largest land mammal is a huge draw for tourists across two continents. But while Africa's elephants are more likely to be spotted roaming vast nature reserves, their Asian cousins are less fortunate.

A multi-million dollar industry has flourished in recent decades with tourists taking rides on the giant beasts or watching them perform in circus shows.

Researchers from World Animal Protection spent two years visiting 220 venues using elephants across Asia, in what they describe as the most comprehensive survey to date of a rapidly growing, lucrative, but poorly regulated industry.

Their data showed pachyderm welfare routinely came in second place to turning a fast profit, with three-quarters of Asia's captive elephants kept in conditions that were rated poor or unacceptable.
 Thailand stood out as the global epicentre. Of the 2,923 elephants WAP documented working within Asia's tourism trade, 2,198 were found in Thailand alone. 
The next largest industry was India, with an estimated 617 elephants, followed by Sri Lanka on 166, Nepal on 147, Laos on 59 and Cambodia with just 36.

All the venues visited, which researchers said represented 90 percent of the industry, were rated on a scale of 1-10 in terms of conditions with 77 percent scoring between just one to five -- what researchers classified as "poor or unacceptable".

"When not giving rides or performing, the elephants were typically chained day and night, most of the time to chains less than three metres long. They were also fed poor diets, given limited appropriate veterinary care and were frequently kept on concrete floors in stressful locations," the report said.

'Tourists can push change' 

India fared the worst on living conditions with an average score of 4.4, followed by Thailand on 4.6, Nepal on 4.8, Sri Lanka on 4.9 and on Laos 5.0.

Cambodia averaged 6.5 but researchers noted there were just 36 elephant in four venues, two of which got good marks.

Highest rated venues rarely or never chained their elephants, limited or banned close interactions with tourists and allowed the animals to socialise in herds.

In Thailand only eight venues were rated as good, compared to 114 rated poor.

Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a Thailand-based expert with WAP, said tourists had the power to improve captive elephant lives by choosing venues that promote observing animals over interacting with them.

"As a general rule, if you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal it's cruel and you just shouldn't do it," he told AFP.

Researchers added that the 30 percent increase in Thailand's tourist elephant population since 2010 was based mostly in poorly rated venues.

Thailand's elephant entertainment industry took hold in the 1990s after authorities banned the use of elephants in commercial logging and owners said they had to find new revenue.

Most of that generation of elephants have now died out, yet the number of elephants involved in the trade keeps increasing. The country has more elephants in captivity than living in the wild.

WAP said they were particularly concerned by Thailand's animal circuses, where elephants can often be seen riding tricycles, walking on tightropes and even playing basketball.

"The training required to make elephants perform such tricks is particularly cruel and stressful," researchers said.

Source - TheNation

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Thai tuna maker says slave labour report a "wake-up call"

The world's largest canned tuna maker Thai Union Group said any migrant labour abuse in the seafood industry was unacceptable following a report by the Associated Press.

The report found that shrimp processed in plants using forced and child labor in Thailand was  products sold in the US, Europe and Asia.

One of those plants allegedly supplied a subsidiary of Thai Union, AP reported.

Many workers have been tricked or sold to factories where they are forced to work long hours for little or no pay, the agency said.

US politicians have called for a boycott of the products, while Greenpeace called on the company and the Thai seafood sector to do more on the issue.

"Any illegal or unethical labour practices are unacceptable to Thai Union," Thai Union's chief executive Thiraphong Chansiri said.

"This is yet another wake up call not only to us, but to the entire industry."

The news comes as Thailand faces pressure from the European Union to clean up in another problem area in the industry - illegal fishing - or face a trade ban.

Thai Union's subsidiary Okeanus had terminated its relationship with a supplier it suspected of breaking its code of conduct, the company said in the statement.

Thai Union, which counts Wal-Mart and Costco Wholesale among buyers, said last week it had decided to stop working with external shrimp processing plants.

It would bring those operations in-house from Jan. 1, because it was difficult to guarantee external suppliers were following its rules, Thai Union said. The company would offer jobs to a thousand of the workers from those external processing plants.

Greenpeace called on the Thai Union to do more.

"The inaction by the entire industry and shiny PR moves are no longer acceptable," Greenpeace US oceans campaign director John Hocevar said.

"It is time for Thai Union and its buyers to audit and clean up every single link in their seafood supply chains - not just the one implicated in the latest of many investigations."

Thailand, the world's third-largest seafood exporter, was given six months by the European Union in April to address issues that had allowed fish caught illegally to enter the supply chain.

The US State Department said in a report this year on human trafficking that some Thai and migrant workers were subjected to forced labour on Thai fishing boats.

Story: Reuters


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