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Increase in captive elephants kept in cruel conditions
When not giving rides or performing, the elephants were bound to chains less than 3m long.

Report shows trend for elephant rides is growing 

The rise in wildlife tourism has led to a huge increase in the number of elephants being kept in cruel and unacceptable conditions, according to a new report.

Published by World Animal Protection (WAP), the Taken for a Ride report found there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of captive elephants in Thailand in just five years.

The study of some 3000 captive elephants found that three out of four are living in poor and unacceptable conditions. When not giving rides or performing, the elephants were bound to chains less than 3m long and kept on concrete floors close to loud music, crowds and roads.

“The cruel trend of elephants used for rides and shows is growing,” Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, global wildlife and veterinary advisor at World Animal Protection explains. “We want tourists to know that many of these elephants are taken from their mothers as babies, forced to endure harsh training and suffer poor living conditions throughout their life.

“There is an urgent need for tourist education and regulation of wildlife tourist attractions worldwide. Venues that offer tourists a chance to watch elephants in genuine sanctuaries are beacons of hope that can encourage the urgently-needed shift in the captive elephant tourism industry.”

Carried out between 2014 and 2016, the WAP report surveyed venues in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.

Following an inspection of 220 venues housing a total of 2,923 elephants, only 194 elephants were found to be living in high welfare captive conditions. At these venues, there were no rides or performances and the elephants walked free during most of the day. 

Image (C) Vinoth Chandar/Wikimedia Commons

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Classroom pets on the decline

News Story 1
 New research has found there are fewer pets in UK classrooms than in previous generations - despite 88 per cent of parents believing it significantly helps a child’s social skills and development.

More than half of the parents surveyed by Pets at Home (51 per cent) had a class pet as a child, compared to 46 per cent of children today.

The survey also found that non-traditional animals such as chickens, tadpoles, caterpillars and stick insects are becoming increasingly popular alternatives as classroom pets.  

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BVA survey seeks views on surveillance

Vets who use veterinary scanning surveillance networks are being asked to complete a survey to help ensure the networks are fully able to protect animals in the UK.

‘Surveillance use, understanding and engagement across the veterinary profession’ is the first of a series of surveillance surveys that will also include localised surveys for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Drafted by members of BVA’s Surveillance Working Group, it will run until Friday, 31 August 2017. Data collected will inform BVA’s policy position ensuring it is representative of disease surveillance across the UK.