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Old 05-12-2019, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,681 posts, read 8,594,408 times
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I have personally seen this when I was in Thailand and it's a travesty what is being done to these beautiful animals. If you find yourself in this part of the world don't support this cruel industry and help spread the message to other travelers.

This powerful episode courtesy of travel vlogger LostLeBlanc:

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Old 05-12-2019, 09:29 PM
 
Location: North State (California)
39,503 posts, read 2,978,735 times
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No I would not contribute to it.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
7,241 posts, read 4,132,331 times
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Too late. I did the elephant ride on one of my trips to Thailand.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:47 AM
 
Location: On the road
5,936 posts, read 2,888,852 times
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There has been a distinct trend in Thailand to where most places that do elephant tourism point out "no riding" in their marketing material, so clearly they've gotten the message that it's become frowned upon.

It's a quandary, it seems wrong to exploit elephants for tourism (even without riding) but often that is the only way to feed and care for them. It used to be legal to use elephants for logging in Thailand so there are lots of them, but now that it's not illegal there is nothing to do with them and they can live for 50 years. You can't turn them all loose, there are still wild elephants farther south in Thailand living in protected areas but there isn't anywhere near the space/resources for all the working elephants in the north to be released, especially since they are comfortable around people and would cause problems interacting with populated areas.

Elephants are really expensive to care for and Thailand can't afford to sanctuary all of them, so you've got these "come see the elephants!" tourist dealies that charge farangs to come interact with and learn a bit about elephants. The negative is the elephants are confined to a certain area and are forced to do silly tricks etc. but the positive is those admission fees pay to feed and care for them and people do learn some things about them and gain an appreciation.

No easy solution with elephant tourism, but bottom line = if a place allows you to ride elephants it's not a good place to support.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:47 AM
 
Location: San Josť, CA
3,265 posts, read 5,783,614 times
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I ignorantly believe that everyone is aware of the damage they're doing when they participate in this type of barbarism but if it wasn't attracting tourists, it wouldn't exist. It's just sad.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
1,300 posts, read 1,095,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lieqiang View Post
There has been a distinct trend in Thailand to where most places that do elephant tourism point out "no riding" in their marketing material, so clearly they've gotten the message that it's become frowned upon.

It's a quandary, it seems wrong to exploit elephants for tourism (even without riding) but often that is the only way to feed and care for them. It used to be legal to use elephants for logging in Thailand so there are lots of them, but now that it's not illegal there is nothing to do with them and they can live for 50 years. You can't turn them all loose, there are still wild elephants farther south in Thailand living in protected areas but there isn't anywhere near the space/resources for all the working elephants in the north to be released, especially since they are comfortable around people and would cause problems interacting with populated areas.

Elephants are really expensive to care for and Thailand can't afford to sanctuary all of them, so you've got these "come see the elephants!" tourist dealies that charge farangs to come interact with and learn a bit about elephants. The negative is the elephants are confined to a certain area and are forced to do silly tricks etc. but the positive is those admission fees pay to feed and care for them and people do learn some things about them and gain an appreciation.

No easy solution with elephant tourism, but bottom line = if a place allows you to ride elephants it's not a good place to support.
I won't go elephant riding but there are sanctuaries that are worth supporting where you can feed and bathe elephants but no riding is allowed. In addition to no riding elephants, going to tiger "temples" should also be avoided. Most tigers are chained and drugged so that people can get their photo ops
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,392 posts, read 1,666,771 times
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Is it still legal in the US to use a horse to pull a plow or a wagon? What's the difference?


There is a section of Google Streetview in Iqaluit, Nunavit, where the camera is polled by dog-sled. For shame!
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,392 posts, read 1,666,771 times
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In India, I saw men riding their work elephants. Why would they walk beside their ride?


In Addis Ababa, my hotel was being expanded, and the cement blocks were delivered on donkey-back, a whole train of them. Most neighborhood streets there cannot accommodate trucks, and small contractors can't afford them.. They use work animals, despite the tsk-tsk of vacationing American suburbanites and their comfortable newsfeed morality.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:17 AM
 
Location: On the road
5,936 posts, read 2,888,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
Is it still legal in the US to use a horse to pull a plow or a wagon? What's the difference? There is a section of Google Streetview in Iqaluit, Nunavit, where the camera is polled by dog-sled. For shame!
It's the large, heavy wooden contraptions they put on the elephants back so tourists can comfortably ride them. Elephants are strong but their spines aren't made to carry that weight so it leads to debilitating injuries over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
In India, I saw men riding their work elephants. Why would they walk beside their ride?
They were probably riding on the elephant's neck, and 160lbs of Indian man is a lot different than the two person wooden seat and passengers on the spine. Even if the Indian man was doing something harmful to the elephant, does the fact that he was doing so me it's okay for tourists in Thailand to do the same?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
They use work animals, despite the tsk-tsk of vacationing American suburbanites and their comfortable newsfeed morality.
1. Again, you seem to equate someone else doing something with one animal to mean it's proof it must be okay for others to do same with elephants. If the burden of proof for something being acceptable is that someone somewhere else does it we're all over the morality map.

2. The people who recognize it's bad practice for tourists to ride elephants aren't limited to American suburbanites, in fact I'd wager they are by far the minority of visitors engaging in elephant tourism. I get you're probably just doing the tired "I'm the more worldly American" routine and that's great whatever works for your self-esteem needs but assumptions this is a uniquely American point of view are quite misplaced.

3. That's pretty funny about newsfeed morality since unless you're living in Thailand or India your experience/information with elephant tourism comes from news feeds as well.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:07 PM
 
12,284 posts, read 18,401,528 times
Reputation: 19122
Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
Is it still legal in the US to use a horse to pull a plow or a wagon? What's the difference?


There is a section of Google Streetview in Iqaluit, Nunavit, where the camera is polled by dog-sled. For shame!
Is it legal to starve or beat an animal? No of course not, not in most countries.

Many animals can be domesticated and used as working animals, that's not the issue at all. The problem is in these developing countries there is not proper regulations to ensure the proper treatment of these animals wheather used in tourism or as beasts of burden. There is not much we can do if an elephant is used in construction (rare nowadays as even in these countries utility vehicles are cheaper to operate), but used for tourism - the tourist can choose to use, or not use. I choose to not use and thus discourage the abuse of these beautiful animals.

Keep in mind this isn't the same as a dog or horse or donkey, which have a history of domestication and naturally take to there working role. Many of these elephants are taken and captured in the wild and are "broken" using some pretty brutal methods.
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