SIGN: Justice for Elephants Chained, Stabbed, and Forced to Perform at Thai Tourist Attractions

PETITION TARGETS: Thailand Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Ministry of Public Health

A chained mother elephant trying to nurse her baby, elephants stabbed with nails and bullhooks as they scream out in pain, elephants forced to give rides, and more: That’s what a new Lady Freethinker (LFT) investigation reveals.

An LFT investigator visited eight elephant “attractions” in Thailand – Sanctuary of Truth, Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, Pattaya Elephant Village, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Chang Thai Thappraya Safari, Chang Siam Camp, and Chang Puak Camp – and found cruelty and abuse at every single one. 

At Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Bang Phra, handlers used nails – in an apparent attempt to hide the abuse from the public – to stab elephants, including a baby named Saan Suay, who was stabbed behind the ear and on her side, and another who was stabbed and had her ear yanked before screaming out in pain. Elephants were stabbed with nails at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, too, according to our investigator.

Elephants showed signs of zoochosis – or psychological distress present in animals in captivity – including bobbing their heads, swaying back and forth, and pacing.

At Chang Siam Park, one elephant showing signs of zoochosis also had a wound visible on their cheek and a tear stain under an eye. At Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, one elephant paced back and forth, chained by the neck. 

LFT’s investigator viewed frequent use of bullhooks — sticks with sharp metal hooks used to control the animals via fear and pain — including at Pattaya Elephant Village, where our investigator observed a handler sharpening a bullhook and another elephant snagged by the ear, causing the animal to scream out, and at Chang Puak Elephant Camp, where a handler forcefully hit an elephant’s hind legs with a bullhook.

At Chang Thai Thappraya Safari, our investigator spotted an elephant with bullhook marks on the face.

Elephants are sensitive and social animals who live in complex social groups and love their families. They’ve been known to console each other in times of stress by “hugging” with their trunks, they mourn the loss of their loved ones by caressing the bones of their late ancestors, and they have exceptional memories.

Abusing and exploiting elephants for “entertainment” and profits is unacceptable. 

Please sign our petition today urging Thai officials to investigate these facilities immediately and relocate abused and suffering animals to reputable sanctuaries.

Then, share this petition with your friends and family, and remember to never support any place that exploits and abuses animals for “entertainment.”

Remember That Railroad Strike Biden Supposedly Averted? Well…

Spencer Brown

As Townhall covered last month, months of negotiations between America’s railroad companies and rail unions ran until the eleventh hour and narrowly averted a massive, economy-crippling strike at the time, a supposedly positive resolution that the Biden administration sought to take credit for after intervening to force a tentative agreement. 

Declaring victory for his administration in the matter — despite the fact that rail worker unions still hadn’t voted to approve the latest agreement — Biden said that the near-shutdown of America’s railways was “validation” that “unions and management can work together for the benefit of everyone.”

In his September remarks, Biden also claimed the tentative contract agreement was a “win for America” to go along with what Biden claimed are other “signs of progress in lowering costs” that have come through his administration’s work to “rebuild a better America.”

All that bluster over a tentative agreement that delayed the strike at the time, as Vespa pointed out earlier, did not mean that a strike was entirely averted. Now, weeks since Biden bragged about the greatness of unions and his administration’s negotiating prowess, a strike is back on the table and looming as a greater threat by the day. 

On Monday, members of America’s third-largest rail union voted against the negotiated contract. For those who remember this song and dance from September, all 12 unions agreed to strike in solidarity unless every union agreed to a deal. This time around, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division has said its workers will stay on the job until “five days after Congress reconvenes in mid November,” but their vote against a deal means the risk of a strike has been renewed again, sending parties back to the negotiating table. 

According to a report from AP:

Over half of track maintenance workers represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division who voted opposed the five-year contract despite 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses. Union President Tony Cardwell said the railroads didn’t do enough to address the lack of paid time off — particularly sick time — and working conditions after the major railroads eliminated nearly one-third of their jobs over the past six years.

“Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” Cardwell said in a statement. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

The group that represents the railroads in negotiations said they were disappointed the union rejected the agreement, but emphasized that no immediate threat of a strike exists because the union agreed to keep working for now.

So, the clock Biden saw run down to its last 24 hours to avert a strike in September has been reset to roughly one month from now — running through November’s midterms — until another scramble to avert a strike will seemingly be imminent. 

All this despite Biden’s bragging that the mayhem in September that saw Amtrak cancel its long haul routes as a precaution and freight lines stop shipments of certain critical goods, realities that could again set in as all 12 unions prepare to walk off the job if a deal can’t be reached to resolve all workers’ concerns.

Chicago-Area Guaranteed Income Program Open to Illegal Immigrants

Madeline Leesman

Illegal immigrants in Illinois will be permitted to apply for a basic income pilot program that will give residents monthly cash payments over the course of two years.

The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will send 3,250 households $500 per month for two years with “no strings attached,” according to Business Insider. The county, which includes portions of Chicago, has over 5 million residents and is the second largest county in the United States.

In order to be eligible for the assistance, applicants must be adult residents of Cook County and make an income of or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or make less than $69,375 for a household of four or more. Applicants will not be asked about citizenship status, Fox News reported.

On the Cook County website, it clarifies that the pilot “is open to all residents of Cook County, regardless of your immigration status. This means that is you are undocumented, or your household is a mixed-status household, and you meet the eligibility criteria above, you are eligible to participate,” adding that officials will not share immigration status information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

According to a government press release, 36 percent of county residents will be eligible to apply. The press release noted that the program is being funded by American Rescue Plan funds allocated to help Americans through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toni Preckwinkle, the president of the county’s board of commissioners, said that the program is the “largest publicly funded guaranteed-income pilot in American history.” Preckwinkle said she hopes to make the program permanent in two years.

Julio covered how GOP Gov. Greg Abbott (R) began sending illegal immigrants at some of Texas’ border towns to “sanctuary” cities like Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. Reportedly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot began sending some of the migrants on buses to outsider counties without giving the officials any notice.

As Julio pointed out, the migrants were sent to Burr Ridge, located in Cook and DuPage counties.

“I am concerned neither the village administrator nor I were told about this,” Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso told WGN. “We want to know: Why Burr Ridge?”

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