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Elephant crushing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Phajaan, called "elephant crushing" or "training crush", is a method by which wild baby elephants can be tamed for domestication, using restriction in a cage, sometimes with the use of corporal punishment or negative reinforcement. This practice is condemned by a variety of animal-welfare groups as a form of animal cruelty.[1]

The training crush[edit]

As reported in the 1999 UN Report Gone Astray, in Myanmar and Thailand the "training crush" method involves placing an elephant in a strong, large stall or cage, tied with ropes to keep the elephant from moving, including being unable to kick, raise or swing its head. This method is supposed to crush the elephant's spirit. Proponents argue that this allows the elephant to properly and safely learn the basic command "Still!" or "Quiet!", and enables it to adapt to its new environment.[2] As quoted in Gone Astray, a 1967 report on a training crush, "An elephant born in captivity is brought up amongst human beings and its training is humane from the day it begins; but a wild beast parted from the herd and its mother must suffer agonies before its will is broken."[2]


Elephants working in the tourist trade, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Working and performing elephants in Thailand are often poached from Myanmar and trafficked into Thailand.[3] There are around 6,500 elephants currently living in Thailand, with around 2,500 of them being caught from the wild. Therefore, all of these elephants are being held captive solely for tourist attractions disregarding any negative welfare.[4] Trafficked animals can be passed off as being locally reared, with birth and ownership documentations falsified.[3]

Animal welfare advocates have called for better legislation and systems to document the origin of elephants in tourist camps and other locations across Thailand.[3]An undercover video footage taken in 2019 shows that elephant crushing is still commonly used in Thailand.[5]


  1. ^ "Don't Get Taken for a Ride", worldanimalprotection.ca. Accessed 20 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b Lair, Richard C. (November 1999). "Gone Astray - The Care and Management of the Asian Elephant in Domesticity". FAO. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Campbell, Charlie (8 July 2014). "Elephants Are Tortured and Trafficked to Entertain Tourists in Thailand". Time. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Web of Science".
  5. ^ "Baby elephant abuse raises concerns about Thailand's tourism practice". The Telegraph. 25 June 2020. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 13 September 2022.

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