In one of the most bizarre and exploitative use of animals in the name of so-called “entertainment” we can recall, it turns out orangutan boxing is a big deal in Thailand.
The endangered and docile apes are forced to dress up in Muay Thai gear and boxing gloves and sent into a ring to throw pretend punches and kicks at one another, while tourists flock to see the action.
Female orangutans are even forced to take part, dressed up in skimpy outfits and made to act as ring girls. Yes, the whole thing is very weird indeed.
And, after photographs emerged of some very depressed orangutans taking part in one of these “fights” held on Sunday at Safari World, Bangkok, animal rights activists have spoken out about how cruel the events are.
Unsurprisingly, the animal rights organisations have called for the shows to be banned.
Speaking to Metro, Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said:
It is shocking that such cruel and exploitative treatment of animals continues for the so-called ‘entertainment’ of tourists. Orangutans are highly intelligent and sensitive animals that share 97 per cent of their DNA with humans and they do not belong in a ring where they are dressed up and made to fight.
Activists also pointed out that tourists should ensure they don’t go to these shows if they don’t wish to support animal cruelty.
Peta’s associate director Elisa Allen added:
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.
Orangutans are also arboreal – they swing through trees – so the act of standing up on curved feet is hard enough for them. 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.