Elephant Rides Are Not Just Dangerous, They Are Wrong

Animal welfare and eco-tourism advocates warn tourists to be more responsible in their travels. They say: no more elephant rides. Are you willing to cross out elephant rides off your bucket list?

There is a host of issues concerning eco-tourism, and riding an elephant is perhaps one of the most sensitive and compelling topics today, especially because it is related to tourism. This anti-elephant-ride campaign stems from the traditional practice of training elephants for labor, which is barbaric and inhumane as some would put it. At the onset, baby elephants are separated by force from their mothers to start the training process.


Elephants are naturally social animals, and they thrive in groups with the young always attached to their mothers and other adult elephants for protection and nurturing. Separating the young from the herd becomes traumatic and debilitating for the baby elephants, not to mention removing them from their natural habitats.

Human trainers then take up the caring of the baby elephants until they mature. But the process of training these young and traumatized elephants is questionable. Some people use whips, food deprivation and other such brutal methods of making the wild animals less wild and more submissive to human commands.


Some elephant ride organizer pose as operating captive breeding programs without any intent of re-introducing orphaned elephants back to the wild. Rather, the elephants are used for entertainment in exchange for a few bucks. Animal rights activists question the ethics behind allowing tourists to pet supposedly wild predator animals such as lions and tigers. There are even complaints about the wild animals being on drug in order to calm them down for petting and picture taking.

riding elephants

As humans, we are not as strong or as ferocious as (predator or wild) animals, but because we are inherently smarter, we naturally rule over animals – outwit them and outlast them. It might be a totally different and more complex matter when these animals are traditionally hunted for food, but for amusement?

When these “well-trained” animals get out of control (although they are meant to be territorial and wild and fierce), we quickly put them down either by killing, injuring or drugging them. Just how cruel can we get all for entertainment’s sake?


Photos by: Gareth BogdanoffChris ParkerMatthew C. Wright and stacya

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