In partnership with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, we are working to implement an Elephant Welfare policy, which will provide working rights to mahouts and their elephants in Laos. The policy will include designated working and resting periods, holiday entitlement, provision of appropriate logging equipment as well as implement strict log size restrictions and cover ownership rights.
Currently in Laos, little is understood and far less implemented in terms of an employer's duty of care. A bopengyang (no worries) attitude is often used, leaving mahouts and elephants vulnerable to exploitation, particularly those working in the logging industry. Working excessively long hours in unsanitary conditions can leave the elephants exhausted and susceptible to illness and injury. A clearly defined Elephant Welfare policy will provide employers with the strict guidelines to improve working standards and in turn assist to maintain the health and wellbeing of the mahouts and elephants under their care.