End crueltyElephants don't give rides willingly—these highly intelligent, socially complex animals are first subjected to violent training programmes
Thank you for this important article (‘With criticism growing, fewer tourists are riding elephants in Chitwan,’ August 25). The tide is, indeed, turning. As compassionate people learn how elephants are abused in the tourism industry, they're distancing themselves from its cruelty. Travel agencies and other businesses have also taken note and are cutting their ties.
Elephants don't give rides willingly—these highly intelligent, socially complex animals are first subjected to violent training programmes in which they're immobilised with chains, beaten, gouged, and threatened with fire to break their spirit. Fearing more beatings, they can only comply. We can keep doing our part, too, by leaving festivals and attractions that exploit elephants off our itineraries. Visiting a nature preserve to watch them interact in their natural environments—free from human interference—is a far kinder way of appreciating these magnificent animals.
Jason Baker, Senior Vice President of International Campaigns, PETA, Hong Kong