Thailand’s Tiger Temple defends cruelty allegations

Thailand’s Tiger Temple defends cruelty allegations

Monks at the popular Kanchanaburi tourist attraction sue for defamation
Tiger Temple Kanchanaburi
A foreign tourist poses for a photo with tigers at the Tiger Conservation Center at a Buddhist temple in Kanchanaburi province.

Thailand's controversial but extremely popular ‘Tiger Temple’ is back in the news, but this time it’s the Kanchanaburi tourist attraction’s monks who are making noise.

According to the Environment News Service (ENS), three advocates for wildlife conservation appeared in a Kanchanaburi court yesterday to answer charges of defamation brought by the temple, which allows tourists to pose for photos with adult tigers. The conservationists are being sued over remarks in an April 2009 article published in a daily Thai-language newspaper that alleged the tigers at the temple are illegally possessed, traded and abused. 

“The Tiger Temple's success is based around claims that its tigers were rescued from poachers and live and move freely and peacefully amongst the temple's monks, who are actively engaged in conservation and rescue work,” says ENS. “However, undercover investigations by the British wildlife charity Care for the Wild International, conducted from 2005-2008, revealed evidence of tigers at the facility being regularly beaten with wooden sticks and clubs, being forced to sit in direct sunshine for hours, and being kept in poor conditions with inadequate food.”

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