'Mistreated' elephants perform for tourists at 'controversial' Thai zoo

Mistreated elephants perform for tourists at a Thai zoo that animal rights campaigners are battling to close down.

The animals were filmed at The Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo which sparked outrage last December when footage emerged of a painfully thin elephant being forced to perform tricks for crowds.

Since then, animal rights groups including PETA have pressured tour companies to stop taking holidaymakers to the enclosure just south of Bangkok.

Chinese firm Ctrip - Asia's biggest online booking agency that handles millions of holidaymakers a year - has now ditched the zoo and stopped selling tickets to the facility.

The firm owns Skyscanner, Trip, and Tours4fun.

Campaigners hope that by targeting customers and tour provides, they can halt the demand for such attractions, which they say leads to the suffering of animals.

PETA announced this week that Ctrip would now stop selling tickets to the zoo and called on other tour operators to follow.

Spokesman Jason Baker said: ''Ctrip did the right thing in nixing tickets to this despicable, abusive, brazen operation.

PETA is calling on all travel companies still offering excursions to such facilities to follow Ctrip’s compassionate, business-savvy example and strike exploitative businesses from their itineraries.''

The zoo houses crocodiles, elephants, Asian Black Bears, chimps, tigers and other animals.

The zoo has received criticism since December 2018 when footage first emerged of a painfully thin elephant being forced to perform tricks for crowds.

Elephants are still present at the zoo and have to perform daily routine performances like knocking over skittles and standing on stools for a handful of visitors in the concrete arena.

PETA said that the ''zoo handlers jabbed elephants with sharp metal spikes and forced them to give rides and perform tricks such as bowling, painting, and dancing.''

The charity said that the elephants could not interact with each other and ''continuously swayed back and forth, a symptom of psychological distress.''

The footage was captured on July 30.