Every year, millions of tourists flock to Asia. Often at the top of their bucket list is to see an elephant. Many choose an elephant ride without knowing about the cruelty inflicted to these beautiful animals.
At most elephant camps catering to tourists, elephants give rides, perform in shows, and paint pictures. Both behind the scenes and often in front of us, elephants are beaten and stabbed with hooks, nails, knives and spears, forced to obey to do the same repetitive routine each day. They have wounds and scars from years of abuse, are often dehydrated, underfed, over-worked, tired, suffer physical and psychological trauma, and when not working, they are chained and deprived of natural behaviours and social interaction with other elephants.
Join the movement: If you love elephants...
Chairs are positioned on the elephants back and held in place with thick rope around their stomach and under the tail often causing painful sores. Weight over 150 kgs puts immense pressure on the elephants’ back which may suffer from weight and pressure distribution resulting in abscesses and lesions from years of carrying a heavy load.
don't buy paintings
A popular myth is that elephants love to paint, however, wild elephants do not paint! Captive-held elephants are trained through pain to hold a brush and memorize the same repetitive strokes to paint flowers or trees. They endure months of physical training and often beaten as punishment with a hook or nail rammed into the sensitive part of their ear or mouth, if they do not obey. Please don't buy paintings and contribute to elephant cruelty.
don't swim or play in the mud
Elephants love to socialize and bathe either on their own or with other elephants. To do this, they need space to splash, roll, submerge, and cover themselves in lovely thick mud. If people are in the water crowding around, it is not only stressful for the elephants but also prohibits natural behaviours.
By standing back or sitting quietly whilst observing elephants from a distance, you are allowing elephants to simply be elephants. Not only is this educational but you are also able to take the most stunning photos and videos.
don't go to shows
Elephants are trained to perform degrading and unnatural tricks, usually including a game of football, basketball, throwing darts at balloons, twirling hoops, balancing on front and back legs, headstands, playing musical instruments, and riding a bicycle - mostly accompanied with deafening loud music. Circuses deny elephants any form of natural behaviour causing mental and physical trauma.
If you love elephants... Observe
If you are planning a holiday that includes an elephant experience, please do your research and make it cruelty-free.
Elephants don't like loud noises, huge groups of people crowding around, or constantly being touched by strangers.
Choose an experience where you can observe elephants in their natural habitat to fully understand these incredible animals. Many projects offer walking with the elephants, where you stand back and observe at a respectful distance leaving the elephants in peace to express natural behaviours. By giving elephants their space, they have the freedom to play, bathe, socialise and enjoy their day, just as much as you.
Just to be in the presence of the largest land mammal on earth is a truly magical, life changing, and memorable experience.
Animal rights is not a gift we give animals.
They are a birthright that we have taken from them.