Friday, May 15, 2015


Elephants are a spectacle for people to see. They're enormous, foreign looking, and demonstrate strong signs of intelligence and compassion. This is why in Thailand, as well as other zoos around the world, the elephants are "taught" to paint legible pictures for the zoo-goers enjoyment. As this article states, the Maesa Elephant Camp in Tailand, prides itself on its ability to teach the elephants to hold a paintbrush within a month and then go onto paint basic shapes next, only to have their skills honed shortly after. But this process is dependent upon intense abuse towards the young elephants in which they are "starved, shackled, and beaten, until their spirit is completely broken..." (Good). The elephants are prodded, stabbed or beaten in order to learn simple patterns that resemble the human act of painting. They paint flowers, trees and other elephants in a performance born of misery and meant to mimic happiness. Much like Spiegel's article, this form of abuse towards animals is meant to construct the appearance of the animals happiness, or the animal's perceived happiness is used as a reason to continue the abuse. Despite elephants' natural intellectual abilities, trainers torture them to commit something resembling human-sentience, the creation of art. Trainers commit the most inhumane acts against the elephants to achieve seemingly happy and human-like results. And like Spiegel's article, zoo-goers and trainers alike use this outcome as a reason to continue the abuse.

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