OK so today has seen some fucked up sensibilities in the world.
First, Lucy Lawless has been arrested for her part in a peaceful protest against Shell drilling for oil in the Arctic. Yes she occupied an oil rig that doesn’t actually belong to her to prevent it heading out to the Arctic to commence test drilling but she is trying to stop the unnecessary contamination of one of our last unspoilt areas of the world. A spill in the Arctic would decimate the wildlife that inhabit this already fragile climate. The spill in the gulf has still not been cleared and this is in an area that is far more accessible than the Arctic! If Shell invested more time and money into researching and building clean, renewable sources of energy they wouldn’t have to fight protesters at every turn, quite the contrary in fact. Companies like Shell talk a big game but in the end they are simply short sighted money grabbers who are only interested in lining their own pockets and couldn’t give a damn about the long term health of our planet. They’ll be long gone before all the damage they’ve done starts affecting people so why should they care right?
The other thing that shows how screwed our world’s government’s are is happening in Thailand. Now I love Thailand, I spent a large chunk of my traveling year there volunteering at several animal charities and its a wonderful place but the government needs some serious correction. Right now the Thai government are targeting animal rights campaigners that are speaking out about the cruelty and mistreatment of animals in Thailand. One of the people they are targeting, and are trying to arrest is the founder of the amazing Elephant Nature Park Sangduen (Lek) Chailert. This woman came from a small village tribe to create a sanctuary for Thai elephants. This woman has dedicated her life to saving elephants, taking them to the park where they can live out their life in the way they were meant to; free of pain, starvation and cruelty. Lek has received many accolades for her work, including Woman of the year in Asia. Her park has been visited by celebrities including Meg Ryan and Julie Benz, yet because she ‘brings a bad name to Thailand’ she is subjected to persecution and slander. My wife and I spent time volunteering at the park while traveling and fell in love with it so much we went back for our honeymoon. The elephants here have been through so much yet are still so tolerant of humans, they are the true definition of forgiveness. Lek is an inspiration to so many, her work makes a real difference in this world and her reward is to be arrested for this?!?!?! ENP educates people on the realities these intelligent, majestic creatures have to endure. Despite being the national emblem of Thailand working elephants have the same protection as domestic livestock i.e. NONE. The sad reality is that every elephant, once it reaches four or five years of age goes through a barbaric and sick ‘training’ method called a Phaajaan. The elephant, which a lot of the time has still not left its mother, is either chained to a tree or in a wooden cage barely big enough to contain it. It is then beaten, violently and repeatedly, never allowed to sleep while a series of men take turns to shout commands at the bewildered and terrified animal. When the elephant fails to obey the command it is stabbed with a wooden pole that has nails driven into the end of it, sharp hooks are also smacked into its head, sometimes embedding itself so deep it takes several yanks to free it. This goes on for days, sometimes weeks, until the elephants spirit is broken. Only then is it deemed a ‘safe’ elephant. The wounds inflicted are terribe, the elephant is so weak it cannot stand and sometimes is so weak it dies. A few deaths is seen as acceptable in a centuries old training method, a ‘holy man’ was even shown hitting the elephant in the head with a hook while ‘blessing it’. Lek wants this to stop. She believes you can train an elephant through love, not pain. Hope, an elephant she rescued as a baby is being raised using this method; yes he is a handful and can be naughty but what child isn’t? Hope is happy, loved and most importantly, he will never know the cruelty humankind can inflict. My wife and I were so changed by this place that we carry a part of it with us via the tattoo’s were received while there. I urge anyone and everyone that has taken the time to read this to help be a part of change. Follow this link and register your disgust. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/urgent-plea-for-rescued-thai-wildlife/