I don’t know if you read the recent story about the British tourist who sadly was trampled to death by an elephant in Thailand. The man, on holiday with his daughter who sadly witnessed the incident, had been thrown from the elephant who then trampled him to death. It is alleged that the minder had been goading the animal earlier, hitting him with a hooked stick. The brutality and hot weather combined to make the elephant react so violently.
Of course, everyone is sad for the man who was fulfilling a dream to ride an elephant, one of the most majestic animals to walk the earth. I would think an amazing experience for all of us. However, it is at an enormous price for the animal concerned.
The incident and more like it, has raised questions about the treatment of these beautiful creatures, who under normal circumstances would never allow a human to sit on them, hug them, or have a photograph taken that close to them. In fact, as one expert stated, if you can do any of the above it is likely that they have been ripped from their mother at an early age, starved and beaten into submission, their spirit broken before being unleashed on the public as tourist entertainment.
It is “entertainment” provided by several countries to satisfy visitors and it needs to be stopped. Sadly, in countries like Thailand, India and those African countries offering safari holidays, many people depend on the tourist rides for their own survival, so local governments need to provide alternative employment. Easier said than done, but wouldn’t it be better for all of us if the elephant was seen in its natural environment, rather than being beaten and chained for our enjoyment.
Well done to Thomas Cook, the holiday firm, for stopping elephant rides as part of their holiday packages. Other companies need to display the same level of responsibility and we, the tourists, have to show compassion by just saying “NO” to this cruel practise.