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A law firm brother and sister deny they're Phuket's trunk smugglers

'Elephant-Eating' Phuket Myth Runs Worldwide

Friday, January 27, 2012
UPDATE

More unproven allegations about elephants being eaten on Phuket are being carried by the non-sceptical international media, simply copying the Associated Press report - in the Daily Mail, Britain, the headline reads: Growing taste for elephant meat in Thailand raises risk of extinction claims, horrified animal welfare group. And there's Time magazine's headline: New Extinction Risk to Thai Elephants. One small problem . . . there's no evidence. But that won't stop the world's follow-the-herd media. Or follow-the-herd readers.

Original Report

PHUKET: A brother and sister who run a law consulting firm on Phuket protested their innocence today as the ''elephant-eating'' myth about Phuket achieved international prominence.

Two Thai newspapers yesterday named Prasit Wathanpumchoo and his sister Jaruwan as being suspects in the poaching of national park elephants for the dinner table.

Despite the couple's denials and other denials of a connection to Phuket restaurants, the furore was carried further today by the Associated Press in an article that began:

''A new taste for eating elephant meat - everything from trunks to sex organs - has emerged in Thailand and could pose a new threat to the survival of the species.''

The article, appearing today in newspaper and television coverage all over the US, Australia and elsewhere, alleges that Phuket is the destination for elephant meat for ''human consumption'' by tourists at restaurants.

The AP report has been spread widely despite regular denials in the Thai media that there is any kind of market for eating elephant.

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said he had never heard of elephant being eaten on Phuket. An investigation has failed to substantiate the claim.

Despite lack of evidence, the ''elephant-eating'' story continues to appeal to some elements in the media and is being circulated far and wide.

Khun Prasit said today that he and his sister were shocked when they were named as suspects yesterday in two publications.

Khun Prasit said his family owned a rubber plantation near the national park, where his Phuket-plate Suzuki Vitari was spotted.

''I have no connection to restaurants and no connection of any kind with restaurants,'' said Khun Prasit, 41, who like almost every Thai respects the elephant as a national symbol and would never eat one.

Police investigating the elephant deaths at the national park examined his car on January 7 and found nothing, Khun Prasit said today. ''I went to the police to make sure that I was above suspicion,'' he told the Phuket media at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

Khun Prasit said he planned to stop off in Bangkok on the way to the family rubber plantation this weekend to let senior police know at Royal Thai Police headquarters that he has nothing to do with the case.

Reeling in what appears to be a distasteful myth will be even more difficult now that Associated Press has circulated claims that not only are tourists on Phuket eating elephants, but the ''new taste'' could ''pose a new threat to the survival of the species.''

The ABC network television news site posted the article yesterday under the headline: ''AP Exclusive: New Taste for Thai Elephant Meat''

In Australia today, the Herald-Sun, largest circulating newspaper in the country, carried the article under the headline: ''Poachers get a taste for elephant meat.''

In the New York Daily News, the headline read: ''Thai elephants might become extinct because too many people are eating them.''

Scores of other news outlets around the globe carried the report.

Comments

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If I'm not mistaken, this news first appeared on Bangkok Post about 2 weeks ago.

I have no idea if elephants are eaten here or not but I do know that dog meat is available at several locations.

I would not be surprised though if this turned out to be true since on Phuket is seems everything goes as long as a profit can be made.

If exploitation of a 7y vietnamese girl is happening right in front of the eyes of local police, why not serve up a few elephants for dinner too.

I hope it's not true but I have little or no faith in the morals of Phuket "businessmen".

Posted by Steve C. on January 27, 2012 18:29

Editor Comment:

Just why the Associated Press is giving new impetus to an old story that has so far not been proven is difficult to fathom.

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Kangaroo and Emu are national symbols of Australia but are also eaten. Blue Marlin = Bahamas. If elephants could be farmed commercially, what is the problem. I would ONLY accept the argument of not eating elephants from a committed vegan. The idea of consuming only certain types of meat depending on their cuteness or not, revolts me.

Posted by Mr Man on January 27, 2012 18:48

Editor Comment:

The point is that kangaroos and emus are not endangered, Mr Man. Elephants are. That's the problem. Once the elephants are all gone, what will you eat in their place? Farm them for food? Come on.

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Some kind of non farang tourist like to engage in for western eyes unusual food. But of course if you phone to the places, they will say no... If elephant meat is liked too, I don't know, but would not surprise me.

Posted by Lena on January 27, 2012 19:46

Editor Comment:

Elephant? Most unlikely. They're far more valuable alive.

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I have just finished eating a big juicy steak bought at ***** *****. I eat my steaks very bleeding rare. Man o man, this was the toughest fillet steak I have ever eaten and I have eaten lots of steaks.
I think it was elephant meat as even the muscle fibers were much larger than beef. I think elephant, dog and cat meat is consumed on Phuket.
Where there is smoke, there is usually a fire. The authorities here do not have a good reputation internationally, for telling the truth in the media.

Posted by Dun on January 27, 2012 20:19

Editor Comment:

There's the ''evidence'' the world's newspapers have been lusting for, Dun. Your bloody tough steak.

Give us a break - buy a tender steak, spend a bit more money.

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Dear Editor,
I suggest the elephant is a metaphor that greed is eating Thailand.
Isn't corporate, US based press all about printing fallacy? For example look at the past lies about Iraq - and the current lies about Iran.

Posted by Media Watcher on January 28, 2012 08:07

Editor Comment:

I think you mean the elephant-eaters are a metaphor for Thailand and greed. There's no evidence, so it's a busted metaphor. What's more obvious in the elephant-eating coverage is the adage: never let the facts get in the way of a good story. So an unproven theory becomes almost-fact. I can't speak about Iraq or Iran. Mainstream newspapers strive for accuracy but can sometimes be swayed by powerful lobbyists to avoid difficult truths.

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It's geo-politics. There is no proof, just words of the elite controlled media, which wants to take over Thailand covertly.

Just like the fake terror bomb alert and this...don't be surprised, if you hear bizzare stories about thailand in coming months..

Posted by Jack on January 28, 2012 10:14

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The BBC played with this story in 2000 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/773217.stm

Posted by Anonymous on January 28, 2012 10:22

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I am sure people have eaten elephant. Look at the woolly mammoth which was hunted for food and clothes.

What about in China and the consumption of Tigers and other exotic and rare animals?

I have no idea why someone would want to eat it, but there is no doubt in my mind, someone has eaten it at some time in Thailand.

What a lot of meat to go to waste when an animal dies, so why not capitalise on it?

Posted by Tbs on January 28, 2012 10:51

Editor Comment:

I reckon 99.9 percent of Thais would not eat elephant - which is why the claim is that tourists on Phuket are eating it. The elephant is revered in Thailand. When mammoths were killed for food, yes, people dressed in animal fur. Not many people still wear animal fur. What happens in other countries is irrelevant.

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What's the problem they eat stuff here that smells like they dug it out of a 3 day old Pampers .Like they said when I lived in Hong Kong the Chinese will eat everything that flies except a jumbo jet and everything on four legs except a table and there's not a lot of difference here you wouldn't want to be a squirrel that's for sure.

Posted by Scunner on January 28, 2012 16:11

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Och ye stupid people, how many times have ye bee oot te eet on Phuket? Everything is same same copy. YES, steak is either dog or buck or elephant. Haw man, even yer neighbours dog is served up as a wee potion of fillet. These resturants will serve ye anythin" as they know ye will depart soonest? So eat up yer carnivorous beasties? If ye kanna understand this, then yer a bloody bloddy good scot who know's their worth. These are heathens that eat anything if it's living or dead. AYE and they call us barbarian?? OCH AYE> Slainte.

Posted by Robin on January 28, 2012 17:04

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"Just why the Associated Press is giving new impetus to an old story that has so far not been proven is difficult to fathom." I suggest that the reason is attributable to a negative image due to the tuktuks, jet skis etc. If there wasn't a pre-existing negative image, such stories would be harder to circulate. Thailand and particularly Phuket has a reputation that lends itself to allowing such stories to spread. If there was a perception of integrity and competence, there most likely would be less chance of such stories making their way to the media.

Posted by Ryan on January 29, 2012 01:30

Editor Comment:

It's a fair way from tourists being scammed by jet-ski operators to being ''those b-s who ate the last of the elephants.''

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Must be short of good/bad news so this bit of ALLEGED NEWS is top of the pops this week...not Bull****..Elephant****

Posted by johndev on January 29, 2012 07:51

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Nothing new. Mc Donalds have been serving Jumbo meals for years :-)

Posted by agogohome on January 31, 2012 09:45

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It is very clear that the story on elephant meat consumption on Phuket was made up by a park official in Petchaburi. He made his claim but was never able to show any evidence at all to this claim. Bottom-line of the matter is that by making this claim he made everyone look in a completely wrong direction far away from himself and the real problem. Young elephants are being removed from the wild to be supplied to elephant camps for tourists, indeed a live baby elephant is worth lots more than the meat or even the ivory. Some journalist were used to make everyone look away.

Posted by Edwin Wiek / WFFT on February 5, 2012 21:50


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