Nepal goes crazy for Elephant football?

Nepal goes crazy for Elephant football?

Elephants and Nepal are two words that connect. I am sure the people of Nepal know more about elephants than I ever shall. But I couldn't help thinking, as I watched a clip of an elephants soccer match: How were those elephants trained to do those tricks?

Are soccer elephants trained like circus elephants? Is there abuse? Punishment before an elephant learns how to move a soccer ball for the benefit, the amusement, of humans?

The defenders of those who train elephants to do tricks say the elephants are better off than they would be in the wild. But are they? If the elephants were left where nature put them, wouldn't they be better off than they are now, carrying the weight of a man on their backs, wearing funny cloths, and pushing a ball on the ground with their trunks?

The defenders of those who are making/ teaching/ training animals to perform say: The animals are fed. They have the care of trained vets.

The defenders say: How damaging can the training be to the animals. Consider the benefits to the animals? Consider what humans get out of watching animals perform? Don't the humans think better of the animals who amuse them, who make them smile and laugh?

Item from ITN news -- "Thousands of tourists have been flocking to Nepal's elephant football championship, which are part of annual celebrations in the country." See the video.