A new bill to protect elephants in Thailand

17/08/2021

Thanks to your support, our Thai team is leading a specialist group of experts, government representatives, academics and NGOs to write the Elephant Bill - a new bill to protect elephants.

You can help elephants by avoiding venues and parks that offer shows with performing elephants, elephant rides and elephant bathing. Instead, see elephants in the wild where they belong.

The aim of the new bill is to stop animal cruelty to captive elephants - such as elephant shows, elephant riding and commercial breeding. Although elephants are considered Thailand's national animal and Thailand has existing animal welfare laws, the existing laws have shortcomings. 

The Elephant Bill is being written with three different purposes:  

  • To close the current loopholes in the law for elephants in captivity;
  • To remove the current loophole in the ban on commercial breeding, riding and shows with elephants; 
  • To endure elephant-friendly venues get support.

These loopholes still allow many forms of exploitation as well as trade in elephants and fail to protect elephants or ensure that they live good lives.     

Panjadach Singtho, a Thai political expert said:

"We are trying to stop the exploitation of wildlife in entertainment . There is so much that needs to be improved and addressed to permanently eliminate the exploitation of wildlife." 

Thailand has at least 27 laws concerning the protection of elephants and is the only country in the world where elephants are classified as both wild and domestic ", where the latter definition allows exploitation. 

According to the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act from 2019, protection must be provided for wild elephants. In other laws that treat "domestic" elephants, there is still room for animal cruelty. The "domestic" elephants are thus more exposed to animal cruelty. Therefore, the new Elephant Act has the opportunity to be the first time that a team would provide real protection for all elephants 

Good news for wildlife

Thailand is stepping up its efforts to restrict wildlife trade to reduce the risk of future pandemics. The government wants to make Thailand "free from the legal trade in wildlife" while fighting illegal trade in wildlife.

Roatchana Sungthong, Country Director at World Animal Protection Thailand said:    

"The proposal to combat both legal and illegal trade in wild animals will help prevent pandemics and keep wild animals in the wild, where they belong."

When the bill is ready, we will submit it to the Thai government, where our proposed bill can be reviewed.

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