Animal rights activists objected Wednesday to suggestions that an elephant severely injured by a land mine be turned over to her owner. Instead, the owner should be charged with animal cruelty, they said because the animal's health had already been jeopardized by the amphetamines he had given her to make her work faster hauling logs.
The elephant, Motola, stepped on a mine while logging near the border with Myanmar more than two weeks ago. The explosion shredded her left front foot, but she survived an unprecedented operation to save most of the leg.
Appeals to Thais have raised $110,000 to pay for the surgery and lifelong care for Motola. Roger Lonahan, a Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals activist, said Somwang Varunviriya, Motola's owner, should be charged.