A tourist attraction in Thailand has come under major criticism after pictures emerged showing controversial fights between orangutans. The endangered apes are dressed up in Muay Thai sports equipment and then forced to box each other in a ring in front of hundreds of tourists. Animal rights groups have since come out to call for the boxing matches to be banned because of the cruel treatment of the animals.
“It is shocking that such cruel and exploitative treatment of animals continues for the so-called ‘entertainment’ of tourists,” said Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Orangutans are highly intelligent and sensitive animals that share 97% of their DNA with humans and they do not belong in a ring where they are dressed up and made to fight.”
Activists have since urged all tourists to stop attending the shows in the hopes that this will stop Bangkok’s Safari World from continuing the attraction. They are also calling on the government in the country to ban the practice of forcing animals to fight each other.
PETA’s associate director Elisa Allen also spoke out against the cruel practice. She explained how the animals are often tortured to ensure that they carry out the demeaning tasks. “When you see these animals performing what are uncomfortable and stressful tricks, know that they’re not doing it because they want to – they’re doing it because they’re afraid to, often subjected to electric shocks, cigarette burns or beatings if they do not obey in training.”
“Many of those animals who are disrespected and abused at these tacky tourist traps were also torn away from their mothers within days or weeks of birth,” she added.