Roxy Jacenko has broken her silence after being branded cruel for letting her daughter and son ride elephants at a beach in Thailand.
The celebrity publicist, 42, who is currently holidaying in Phuket with Pixie, 10, and Hunter, 8, was accused of supporting Thailand’s notoriously cruel elephant entertainment industry.
But the star had claimed she had ‘no idea’ she had done anything wrong until the backlash – and has since removed the post.
Roxy Jacenko (pictured) has landed herself in hot water by uploading an Instagram video of her daughter Pixie, 10, and son Hunter, eight, riding elephants at a beach in Thailand
‘I am genuinely shocked – I had NO idea, if I did, I obviously wouldn’t have participated and educated the children on the topic as to why they couldn’t take part,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday evening.
‘This is our first trip to Phuket, and it’s been a remarkable experience overall, when we saw the two elephants on the beach, adjacent to where we are staying, the kids were overjoyed – having never had an experience to get so close to such a remarkable animal and being genuine animal lovers.
Roxy went on add that she saw the comments read up on the subject and removed the images swiftly from her social media.
The celebrity publicist, who is currently holidaying in Phuket with her children (pictured here on the elephants) has been accused of supporting Thailand’s notoriously cruel elephant entertainment industry
‘What an amazing experience’, she captioned the clip, adding the Thai flag emoji
Roxy was quickly slammed by users commenting on her post
‘I have removed the posts and am now very aware why it would have caused upset which was unintentional,’ Roxy closed her statement.
Earlier in the day, Roxy’s followers were left infuriated after she captioned the video of her kids riding elephants, ‘What an amazing experience’.
‘Amazing? This is cruel and should be banned!’ one commented.
‘Please do not promote elephant tourism. They need to be protected, not used for our entertainment. The kids will gain much more by being educated about this’, another wrote.
Only one user came to Roxy’s defence, writing: ‘Woah calm down everyone, she’s done nothing wrong!! ‘I bet you all eat meat and wear leather so don’t be hypocrites!! @roxyjacenko enjoy your holidays never mind the [self] righteous haters’
One person pointed out that the elephants looked to be ‘tied together’ in the video, before adding: ‘Oh dear lord wish I could unsee [this].’
Several critics threatened to unfollow Roxy’s account while others urged her to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary instead.
A handful of users gave Roxy the benefit of the doubt however, politely asking her to reconsider riding elephants in future.
Roxy is pictured with her two children – Pixie, 10, and Hunter, 8
‘I am sure your kids loved it and were very gentle but it is important to understand the unkind training behind this,’ someone advised.
‘Maybe an error in judgment in participating in this experience. Please don’t be an advocate for breaking the souls of these innocent animals,’ another user begged.
Only one user came to Roxy’s defence, writing: ‘Woah calm down everyone, she’s done nothing wrong!!
‘I bet you all eat meat and wear leather so don’t be hypocrites!! @roxyjacenko enjoy your holidays never mind the [self] righteous haters,’ they added.
The cruelty of Thailand’s elephant entertainment industry is well document. The country’s elephants were once used to haul teak for the prosperous logging industry, but when machinery was developed to do this job instead, locals looked to put their animals to a different use. Elephants are pictured at a tourist park south of Chiang Mai in Thailand’s north
The cruelty of Thailand’s elephant entertainment industry is well documented.
The country’s elephants once hauled teak for the prosperous logging industry but when machinery was developed, locals put the animals to a different use.
Elephants became a major attraction and now over 12.8 million tourists a year travel to Thailand to ride, wash and take selfies with elephants.
The life of a ‘domesticated’ elephant begins with a process called ‘crushing’ that is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds.
Animals are tied to short chains, beaten with bull hooks and other sharp implements and underfed in order to make them behave. This continues for the rest of their lives in captivity.
The animals are often forced to perform circus tricks in front of tourists. Elephants are pictured performing with hoops and nooses around their necks at a tourist park south of Chiang Mai in Thailand’s north
INSIDE THAILAND’S ELEPHANT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
Every year 12.8 million tourists travel to Thailand with the specific intention of interacting with elephants as part of their trip, according to a survey from World Animal Protection.
There are believed to be at least 3,000 elephants used in entertainment tourism throughout Asia for – with 77 per cent living in cruel and inadequate conditions, the organization claims.
Most tourists believe the elephants have been domesticated ethically, but in fact most are captured from their herds in the wild or seized from their mothers when they are only babies.