Ripley’s Sponsoring ‘Benefit’ Polo Match for Which Elephants Are Beaten

PETA Urges Company to Pull Support From Polo Tournament After Investigation Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Cruelty

For Immediate Release:
March 9, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – In response to shocking video footage released this morning by PETA Asia showing handlers repeatedly beating elephants for Anantara Hotel’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, PETA is calling on Orlando-based Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to stop sponsoring the cruel tournament, which touts itself as a “charity” event for elephants.

The footage, shot from nearby hotel and apartment windows, shows handlers in a holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing the captive elephants’ heads with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a long, sharp metal hook on one end) and pulling the animals with the hooks by their extremely sensitive ears.

“Beating elephants into ‘playing’ polo for public amusement while claiming to fund elephant conservation is a cruel scam, and the sponsors must pull out now,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to stop putting its name on this abusive spectacle and never support events that exploit animals in the future.”

Elephants used for polo tournaments, rides, or any other amusements endure violent training to break their spirits, during which they’re regularly beaten. Between matches, they’re often shackled so tightly that they can barely take a single step. Because of this cruelty, numerous tournaments have been canceled or lost sponsors—and Guinness World Records has struck all mention of elephant polo records from its pages.

In a letter sent today, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also asked Benihana, Dairy Queen, IBM, and others to pull their sponsorships and urged the Minor Hotel Group, which owns the Anantara brand and is the organizer of the event, to end the tournament.

PETA’s letter to Ripley Entertainment is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind