Captive elephants "suffering"

Most elephants living in captivity across the country suffer from work overload, malnutrition, and poor living conditions, says the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

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A friendly baby elephant, the star of an elephant camp in Chiang Rai, plays with a tourist. This baby is likely well cared for, but health check-ups elsewhere have found most captive elephants are not so healthy. NARISA LEELATHAWORNPANYA

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Most captive elephants 'suffering'  

Apinya Wipatayotin

Most elephants living in captivity across the country suffer from work overload, malnutrition, and poor living conditions, says the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

Sittidet Mahasawongkul, head of the Lampang-based centre's elephant hospital yesterday said he and his team recently conducted elephant health check-ups at several elephant camps and found most of the animals were ailing due to poor care.

There are about 2,000 captive elephants in shelters across the country.

"Many elephants were weak and sick as they are forced to entertain tourists and perform in shows for many hours a day," Mr Sittidet said. "They don't have enough food to eat and they don't have time to relax."

The team found unhygienic living conditions in many of the shelters, the veterinarian said.

Many of the elephants were being fed only grass and were showing signs of malnutrition.

"They cannot get enough nutrition from eating only grass," he said, adding that elephants can die from digestive problems if they eat grass for extended periods.

To encourage elephant shelter operators to take better care of the animals, the Livestock Development Department and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have created an award for elephant shelters that meet or surpass the department's animal welfare standards.

Seventy-three shelters in 11 provinces took part in the project, but only a few of them met the standards, Mr Sittidet said.

Sawan Sangbunlung, secretary-general of the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he hoped that a proposed law change would help curb the problem of poor treatment.

A bill now before the House is designed to protect animals, including elephants, from maltreatment, he said.

The measure has passed its first reading. Under the bill, people found guilty of harming animals will be fined 20,000 baht, and/or given one year in prison.

"I hope that when this law comes into effect, the elephants will receive better treatment. They will have more time to relax and will have better food to eat," Mr Sawan said. The shelter operators will be legally bound to take good care of elephants, he added.

captive – kept in a place without being allowed to leave ไม่สามารถหนีได้
suffer – to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation ประสบความลำบาก
captivity – the state of being kept in a confined space; the state of being kept as a prisoner การถูกกักขัง, การถูกจองจำ
overload – having too much of something to be able to handle or process it ใช้งานมากไป
malnutrition – physical weakness and bad health caused by having too little food, or too little of the types of food necessary for good health ภาวะขาดสารอาหาร
conditions – the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์
conservation – the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
ailing – ill and weak ป่วยและอ่อนแรง
(animal) shelter – a place where animals are protected โรงเลี้ยงสัตว์, สถานที่ที่ปลอดภัยสำหรับสัตว์
entertain – to interest and amuse somebody in order to please them ทำให้เพลิดเพลิน, ทำให้สนุกสนาน
unhygienic – not clean and therefore likely to cause disease or infection ไม่ถูกสุขอนามัย
veterinarian – a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals สัตวแพทย์
nutrition –  food considered as something that keeps you healthy โภชนาการ
digestive – connected to digestion, the process in the body of making food in substances the body can use เกี่ยวกับการย่อยอาหาร
extended – made longer or larger ยาวนาน
period – a particular length of time  ระยะเวลา
encourage – to cause someone to want to do something กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
operator – a person or company that runs a business ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
livestock – animals such as cows, sheep, chickens and pigs that are kept on farms ปศุสัตว์
award – a prize or a sum of money that is given to someone following an official decision รางวัล
surpass – to do or be better than somebody/something เหนือกว่า, เก่งกว่า, ดีกว่า, เกินกว่า
welfare – good care and living conditions, in this case, for animals ความสะดวกสบาย, ความมีสุขภาพดี, สวัสดิภาพ
standards – a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน
prevention – preventing something bad from happening การป้องกันภ้ย
cruelty – behaviour that deliberately causes pain to other people or animals อย่างโหดเหี้ยม
proposed – suggested as an idea for a group to consider ถูกเสนอ
curb – to control or limit something that is harmful ระงับ, ควบคุม
treatment – the process of providing medical care การรักษา
bill – a proposal for a law ร่างกฎหมาย
House (of Representatives) – the largest part of Congress in the US, or of the Parliament in Australia and Thailand สภาผู้แทนราษฎร
maltreatment – being very cruel to a person or an animal การทารุณ
measure – a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation มาตราการ
find guilty – to prove in a court of law that someone has committed a crime พิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิด
fine – to be required to pay an amount of money because you have broken the law ปรับเป็นเงิน
legally bound  – required by law ต้องปฏิบัติตามกฎหมาย

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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