The only way we'll know for sure is if CF takes up a collection and sends me there to investigate.
From the intertunes, with all the creadability that implies. I can't link. There are bad words nearby.
on TigerTemple.org it states that “[the tigers] are not drugged. Tigers are nocturnal animals, so they sleep during the heat of the day. The tiger’s eyes are better adapted to lower light levels than their prey species, so they can surprise their prey with greater ability in darkness. This means they are more active and hunt at night. Adult tigers are naturally lazier, whereas the cubs are more active and will play if it is not too hot.”
The tigers are hand-reared by the monks who live at the temple. They cannot, apparently, hunt or fend for themselves and so they will never be released into the wild. On the website it states that the tigers were intercepted because their mothers were killed by poachers.
This particular tiger temple is in Kanchanaburi. At some point, Lonely Planet advised its readers not to visit the temple. I have found several travelers’ reports from various temples across Thailand about the tigers not being sedated, but that might be the problem.
The Lonely Planet reference:
At last count the temple had eight tigers and at least one tourist had been seriously mauled … More responsible operators confided to us that they didn't think playing with tigers was such a good idea. We agree… we don't recommend you visit.