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Assistance Provided to Elephant Camps and Promotion of Elephant Welfare during the COVID-19 situation

Image by Dikky Oesin from Pixabay

Thailand’s Elephant Welfare Policies

  • Thailand attaches high importance to animal rights and welfare and has promulgated the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act, B.E. 2557 (2014), for this purpose.
  • Subsequently, the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) established the Division on Animal Welfare and Veterinary Service and pushed for the promulgation of the sub-regulation on elephant welfare management, to enable greater efficiency in law enforcement.
  • Under such regulations, elephant owners are obliged to observe requirements according to the five freedoms of animal welfare. Inappropriate elephant shows, overworked elephants, and improper elephant care are all considered as offences.
  • In terms of raising awareness and promoting animal welfare, there are three significant achievements.
  • First, the National Institute on Elephant Research and Health Service has been set up for the study, research, and monitoring of diseases that afflict elephants, as well as the provision of free veterinary treatment for domestic elephants.
  • Second, the DLD collaborated with the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards in drafting guidelines on good practices for elephant facilities and the safety of staff and tourists, in order to comply with international standards.
  • Third, guidelines for the welfare and management of Asian elephants in the Thai tourism industry was launched, aiming to promote knowledge and awareness on the importance of elephant healthcare and welfare management.


Assisting Elephants during the COVID-19 Situation

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the tourism industry and, in turn, the lives and welfare of elephants. A survey by the DLD shows that 989 elephants in 91 elephant camps in 11 provinces had suffered from dietary deficiency due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Subsequently, the DLD instructed relevant provincial livestock offices to find other natural food sources in nearby areas, to use agricultural produce residue as alternative sources of food. Additionally, the provincial offices were instructed to temporarily relocate the elephants to other provinces where adequate food supplies were available, and to request assistance from animal welfare foundations, organizations, or other elephant camps.
  • As a result, vast quantities of elephant food supplies have been distributed, including 8,500 kilograms of fresh grass, 29,400 kilograms of hay, and 1,200 kilograms of grass sprouts, resolving the issue of food shortage for elephants.
  • In addition, veterinary care has been provided for 32 elephants affected by the situation.