What is wrong in going to elephant shows or take elephant treks?
If you go to Thailand one of the main attractions are elephant shows and elephant camps. Tourists visit them to play with animals or watch elephants dancing, painting and doing other unnatural. They can also have an elephant ride or trek. There are plenty of elephant camps in the Northern Thailand. Some friends asked us if we had had an elephant ride. We did not plan to have one. I saw some pictures of elephants doing tricks and it made me feel uneasy about all this “elephant business”. I don’t like all this animal circus since my childhood.
After we came across an elephant camp during our trip to the Doi Inthanon I had even stronger doubts about elephant entertainments. The camp is located right next to the road we were taking to Chiang Mai and were surprised to see the animals. We stopped to have a look at them but we did not pay any money for that. The elephants were about to have their evening food. Of course, it was nice to see these big animals so close and play with a baby elephant. But the animals did not look really fine. There was something strange in their behavior. The people taking care of them seemed not to treat the elephants in a good way. One guy was jumping and hitting a small elephant on the head (see video below – a man in the background with a young elephant).
It looked as if they were playing but it made me think that most probably the elephants are not treated well. All of them were chained and they were moving from side to side like dancing. I remembered seeing somewhere that animals behave like this in cages when they are going “crazy” in captivity. This looked looked very similar. After a while we left and I did not think about it anymore.
Not long ago I came across an article about Baby elephant tortured into submission before illegal smuggling from Burma to Thailand. In the picture below taken from this article you can see that a baby elephant is being severely beaten by mahouts.
Yes, it is the same baby elephant that will soon become an “actor” in thrilling pictures for hundreds or thousands of tourists. They will be sincerely happy to play with a baby elephant, hug it, caress it and get great pictures to show to their family and friends back home. But these people don’t think that such behavior is very unnatural for animals. This and other tricks are not performed by wild animals. It means these elephants were trained to behave abnormally, trained into submission as they don’t dare to reject anything people want to do with them.
The article made me search more on the subject. I found more about tortures of animals used to break their free spirit and program them into full submission and obedience. The video below uncovers some of the terrible truth about “elephant business” in Thailand.
So what is wrong in attending elephant shows and taking elephant treks?
I believe any smart person understands that when people pay money for this kind of entertainment they pay money to the people who torture animals. And the more people are paying the more animals will suffer as the increased demand will cause more young elephants be captured and ruthlessly trained into obedient “circus” animals.
I do hope you agree with me and smart enough to over come your desire to play with a small cute baby elephant in order to avoid supporting this bloody practices.
Please share it with your friends if you agree!