Excuse me, but elephants painting... elephants playing piano?!

grmltr

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,537
Um...


I assume there is some level of training. Let me know if there is some kind of animal cruelty going on. But holy shit?

Also, this elephant clearly is grooving and wants to play the piano.

 

Thequietone

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,551

Or taking a tour guide's hat and putting it on. Then being polite and putting it back very gently.
 

Citan

Member
Oct 3, 2019
216
Iirc the elephants are trained to paint specific things and dumb tourists are charged to see this "amazing" display of intelligence. They're not actually picking up a brush and painting from their imagination. It's basically a scam.
 

PJV3

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,428
London
Peter the elephant should stop watching Later with Jools Holland and move some logs or whatever elephants do.
 

CloudWolf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,015
Yeah, the painting elephant is probably some animal cruelty on display. It's not displaying any creative skill or process, it's highly likely just replicating something that the trainers conditioned it to replicate, skinner box style. That head bop the elephant does at the end of the painting is not natural behaviour and points towards it being stressed. But hey, everything for that tourist money and YouTube views.
 

fleet

Member
Jan 2, 2019
492
Yeah, the painting elephant is probably some animal cruelty on display. It's not displaying any creative skill or process, it's highly likely just replicating something that the trainers conditioned it to replicate, skinner box style. That head bop the elephant does at the end of the painting is not natural behaviour and points towards it being stressed. But hey, everything for that tourist money and YouTube views.
that's not always true. like i have literally no idea if the elephant in the video above was subject to animal cruelty. but conditioning an animal to perform a sequence of behaviours is typically never animal cruelty; it's literally just a positive reinforcement schedule where the animal gets a reward for doing the right thing, and no reward for doing the wrong thing. the animal never gets punished for doing the wrong thing - it just doesn't get the reward (usually treats).

you can teach animals to do all sorts of cool shit by knowing the bare minimum knowledge of psychology.
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,838
that's not always true. like i have literally no idea if the elephant in the video above was subject to animal cruelty. but conditioning an animal to perform a sequence of behaviours is typically never animal cruelty; it's literally just a positive reinforcement schedule where the animal gets a reward for doing the right thing, and no reward for doing the wrong thing. the animal never gets punished for doing the wrong thing - it just doesn't get the reward (usually treats).

you can teach animals to do all sorts of cool shit by knowing the bare minimum knowledge of psychology.
Except they don't do that in Thailand at all for example. So I can see his point. Which is his point. Elephants get punishment for training.
 

MrMegaPhoenix

Member
Oct 27, 2017
156
I'm not sure about cruelty or not, but there is a group of these elephants in Chang mai (or nearby) and besides painting, they also play soccer and will put hats on people's heads. It looks cute still.

I assume not cruelty though, also reminds me of the monkey circus I saw on monkey island in Vietnam. They don't look scared of people
 
Oct 28, 2017
845
that's not always true. like i have literally no idea if the elephant in the video above was subject to animal cruelty. but conditioning an animal to perform a sequence of behaviours is typically never animal cruelty; it's literally just a positive reinforcement schedule where the animal gets a reward for doing the right thing, and no reward for doing the wrong thing. the animal never gets punished for doing the wrong thing - it just doesn't get the reward (usually treats).

you can teach animals to do all sorts of cool shit by knowing the bare minimum knowledge of psychology.
Sure, it can be done by positive reinforcement, but domestication by punishments used to be common and often still is in places where laws don't prevent it. Just look at animal cruelty in circuses

It seems like with elephants in SE Asia the question is also if they are born in captivity or captured from the wild, because the latter can involve cruel processes designed to 'break' them

Wikipedia: Elephant Crushing

As reported in the UN Report Gone Astray, in Myanmar and Thailand the "kraal" or "training crush" method involves placing an elephant in a strong, large stall or cage, tied with ropes to keep the elephant from moving, including being unable to kick, raise or swing its head. This method is supposed to crush the elephant's spirit. Proponents argue that this allows the elephant to properly and safely learn the basic command "Still!" or "Quiet!", and enable it to adapt to its new environment.

National Geographic reports on the use of nails and sticks stabbed into the ears and feet of an elephant, the subject of a crush, in Thailand. Other reports cite the use of beatings with sticks, chains or bullhooks, sleep-deprivation, hunger, and thirst to "break" the elephant and make them submissive to their owners. It is not clear whether all training crushes involve the use of corporal punishment.
Time: Elephants Are Tortured and Trafficked to Entertain Tourists in Thailand

Wild elephants are being captured in Burma and mentally broken through savage beatings as traffickers seek to profit from a lucrative trade to Thai tourist parks, claims a new report.

According to wildlife-advocacy group TRAFFIC, poachers in Burma, officially known as Myanmar, corral elephants into jungle pits, after which older animals are slaughtered and the more valuable young ones tortured into submission before being trafficked over the porous border to entertain tourists vacationing in the self-styled Land of Smiles. (Formerly, elephants in Burma might have been put to work in the logging industry, but recent curbs have put this trade under threat.)
 

fleet

Member
Jan 2, 2019
492
Except they don't do that in Thailand at all for example. So I can see his point. Which is his point. Elephants get punishment for training.
as i said, no idea about that specific animal. and the fact that it is painting such a choreographed picture (likely over and over) is a bit suss. i’m just pointing out that ‘elephants painting’ is not always an indicator of cruelty, and is used in a lot of zoos as a form of enrichment. however, when it’s enrichment the paintings are usually random blobs of paint, so take the video in the op as you will i guess
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,838
as i said, no idea about that specific animal. and the fact that it is painting such a choreographed picture (likely over and over) is a bit suss. i’m just pointing out that ‘elephants painting’ is not always an indicator of cruelty, and is used in a lot of zoos as a form of enrichment. however, when it’s enrichment the paintings are usually random blobs of paint, so take the video in the op as you will i guess
Nobody is saying you can't train animals without punishment as you said yourself. This topic is about Elephants and it's a big known problem.

I'm not sure about cruelty or not, but there is a group of these elephants in Chang mai (or nearby) and besides painting, they also play soccer and will put hats on people's heads. It looks cute still.

I assume not cruelty though, also reminds me of the monkey circus I saw on monkey island in Vietnam. They don't look scared of people
This group in Chang Mai is changed daily so that people don't notice them being sad or looking like shit. There is exactly one rescue sancutuary that is not shit and is watched by the government. The other ones are just exchange places so that people don't complain about the elephants getting handled like shit. It breaks my heart that nothing is getting done to solve that over there, but tourism money is too good.
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,578
This group in Chang Mai is changed daily so that people don't notice them being sad or looking like shit. There is exactly one rescue sancutuary that is not shit and is watched by the government. The other ones are just exchange places so that people don't complain about the elephants getting handled like shit. It breaks my heart that nothing is getting done to solve that over there, but tourism money is too good.
I was explained that the easiest rule of thumb is "does this place allow tourists to ride elephants?". If they don't have a strong stance against riding, it's another animal cruelty circus and should be avoided.
 

digdug2k

Member
Mar 28, 2018
903
Iirc the elephants are trained to paint specific things and dumb tourists are charged to see this "amazing" display of intelligence. They're not actually picking up a brush and painting from their imagination. It's basically a scam.
Scam is probably a stretch. The places I've seen the a have dozens of these paintings in the gift shop for you to buy. They're all vaguely the same with different colors or arrangements. No one thinks the elephants are just being creative.
This group in Chang Mai is changed daily so that people don't notice them being sad or looking like shit. There is exactly one rescue sancutuary that is not shit and is watched by the government. The other ones are just exchange places so that people don't complain about the elephants getting handled like shit. It breaks my heart that nothing is getting done to solve that over there, but tourism money is too good.
There's lots of elephant cruelty in Thailand, but there's definitely more than one non shit sanctuary in (northern and all of) Thailand. Many run by Western animal rescue organizations.

The government run sanctuaries I've been to have been for wild ones. You can't approach or touch them there. They probably wouldn't be a safe place for a rescued work elephant.
 

MrMegaPhoenix

Member
Oct 27, 2017
156
Nobody is saying you can't train animals without punishment as you said yourself. This topic is about Elephants and it's a big known problem.



This group in Chang Mai is changed daily so that people don't notice them being sad or looking like shit. There is exactly one rescue sancutuary that is not shit and is watched by the government. The other ones are just exchange places so that people don't complain about the elephants getting handled like shit. It breaks my heart that nothing is getting done to solve that over there, but tourism money is too good.
Aww that's unfortunate. I did go on the ride too and it was a really cool experience. A pity they aren't treated better