Monday, December 18, 2006

Is Elephant Polo Bad?

Cartier recently hosted an elephant polo match in India. Even though the event was supposedly held to "highlight the plight" of endangered elephants, PETA was on hand to protest the "clear cruelty towards animals." Interesting show down.

I can certainly see the ruthless suits at Cartier drumming up the "save the elephants" angle at the last minute, once they realized their exotic publicity stunt might offend some tree huggers. Then again, I don't see PETA protesting regular equine polo matches. Are horses expendable? I can't imagine that the elephants WANT to play polo, but then again, I can't imagine that dishwashers WANT to jam their hands into sinks full of broken glass. My point is that these elephants are in captivity - they are not running wild. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that one of the (sad) conditions of captivity is that they might be put to work in exchange for being taken care of. But did the elephants ask to be taken captive you might ask? Of course not. Did the dishwasher ask to be born into a world of economies and vertically-stacked work forces? Of course not. We work within the structure we inherit until we, or others, can change it for the better.

I'm just not so sure that those elephants are going to be any better off if they are taken off the polo fields and set free in the bush. Is it possible that they enjoy having their faces painted and getting out there for a few chukkas? I think it's possible. More importantly, could we get an elephant on a vespa? That, remains to be seen.

(courtesy The Cool Hunter)


Post a Comment

<< Home