By Jason Tan [Letter to Editor\
We, Malaysian Friends of the Animals (MFOTA) are extremely disappointed that little improvement has been made to the lives of the nine elephants at the A’Famosa Resort, Melaka.
Despite being exposed for its mistreatment of elephants by ‘Friends of the Orangutans’ almost a year ago, recent photographs have proven that the zoo at the A’Famosa is still exploiting the elephants there by making them take part in nightly carnival shows and using them for ‘rides’ by tourists, also on a daily basis.
The noise, confusion and crowd at the carnival shows and rides are sheer torture to these sensitive and intelligent beings.
There is also zero educational value in these ‘amusements’. It’s all about making money out of the animals, is it not? And keeping tourists titillated.
Sadly it’s the animals that are paying a high price by being mere ‘props’ in the zoo’s so-called entertainment schedule.
One must ask what harsh methods were used to train these elephants to endure these humiliating practices.
Have the elephants been put through the physically brutal practice called ‘phajaan’ to force them to perform in shows and make them available for rides?
Is this why an elephant trainer was caught hitting a female elephant last year at the resort’s zoo?
It is also reported that once the elephants have been used for rides and shows, they are then chained for hours. Will Perhilitan confirm this?
With regards to the small improvements the authorities claim to have instituted in view of the report by Perhilitan late last year – can we trust A’Famosa to always provide water and enrichment to the elephants when they are chained?
What is the condition of ‘Rock’ the abused elephant? Is it still alive?
Why has Perhilitan taken no action against the zoo for such demeaning and abusive treatment of these majestic creatures? Has it conducted any undercover investigations since last year’s report?
The Malaysian Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 has specific clauses meant to protect captive animals from such enslavement and confinement, yet these elephants are far from being able to exhibit natural, normal behaviour as the law stipulates.
From what we see, close to nothing has been done to help A’Famosa’s elephants by Perhilitan or their bosses at the Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) Ministry. Both parties should feel deeply ashamed about this.
We urge Malaysians to boycott A’Famosa Resort and other zoos around the country offering elephant shows and rides as part of their ‘menu’.
And to the Malaysian public reading this article, will you take your children to zoos that are abusing and exploiting animals for their owners’ financial benefit?
You should know how most elephants suffer terribly so that your children can enjoy their company. Please read more about the practice of ‘phajaan’ at this link: http://phajaan.webs.com/