Say No To Elephant Riding

Elephant riding is a real issue all over Asia. We therefore would like to inform other travellers to be aware of animal cruelty. 

Say No To Animal Tourism

Thom's Pai Elephant Camp in Pai, Thailand is the first elephant camp where tourists can interact with the gentle giants. They make tourists like you and I believe that they take care of these beautiful creatures and that they are a part of the family. All of this is not true and the reality is quite the opposite. 

You can mostly choose between riding bareback or in a seat, swimming with elephants or feeding the elephants. For all who is not informed about the stress this brings to the animal... Animal welfare experts claim that elephant rides are harmful for the gentle giants. This leads to extreme types of distress and anxiety as a result.

We wanted to see it ourselves and drove to Thom's Pai Elephant Camp. When we arrived we immediately saw 2 elephants looking into our direction. We parked our motorbikes and walked up to them. The first thing that we both noticed was that these beautiful animals were chained. The look in their eyes was pure sadness. They did not have much space to walk around at all and they looked very agitated to be restricted in such a tight space and chained up. There was no water to be seen for them to drink. And no food unless tourists buy bananas to feed them. 

That 1 hour we spend there was enough for us to make the decision to never be a part of this cruel money-making business. Seeing wild elephants being captured is devastating and heartbreaking. All elephants deserve to be living a free and save life. 

The biggest problem of today is that no one really knows how cruel animal tourism is. Admire elephants from a distance instead of clambering all over them. Say no to animal cruelty in any way and stop paying for animal attractions. Do not believe their stories because their stories are based on lies. They earn money by abusing elephants and taking away their precious life. Because yes, every life is precious!

Knowing that this attraction is still #17 on "things to do" in Pai on TripAdvisor is pure madness and inexplicable.

Let Me Share Some Facts With You

  1. Elephants are among the world's most intelligent animals. They have a strong desire to wander and explore the world. Just like any other traveller like you and I. But they are not as lucky as we are. They are used for entertainment and are often chained and closely confined. This leads to intense psychological distress, disorders and repetitive behaviours.
  2. Most tourists visit elephant camps because they love animals. They end up paying to get up close to the animal. But the reality is heartbreaking. Behind the bright facades and all the clever tricks the elephant shows you is a lifetime of hidden abuse. And this is how tourists end up paying for animal cruelty.
  3. Years of abuse, neglect, poor diet and loneliness are a couple factors that reduces the elephants' lifespan. Captive elephants only live half as long than elephants living in the wild.
  4. Your once-in-a-lifetime elephant ride doesn't make you an animal lover, but more of a supporter for animal abuse
  5. Elephants are wild animals

Please think again and say NO to animal tourist attractions! 

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37 comments

  1. Hemanth

    Very heartful, goodpost

    Reply

  2. SeekAndRead

    You’re right .. but what we can do?
    Even if the animals are left to live by themself you don’t know what will happen to them from some other people who are not tourists!

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      That is also true, but I can only try to tell my fellow travellers to not be a part of these cruel money making businesses.

      Reply

  3. neeliev

    I totally agree! Good that you posted about this topic though, as I think there’s still a long way to go in terms of people being aware of the fact that elephants should not be used as a tourist attraction 🙁

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Definitely a long way to go but we need to give it more attention so the world knows how the reality of these poor animals are. Thank you for reading.

      Reply

  4. Danielle Jones

    Great post, completely agree with what you wrote!

    Reply

  5. Natasha

    This makes me so sad. We found a camp like this in Chiang Rai. We refused to ride them. They wouldn’t let us give them water because it’s one of the ways they keep control over them. They lied to us about an elephant being unwell but it wasn’t unwell – it was shaking from stesss and sadness of being removed from its mother

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Reality is really hard and sad isn’t? I hope we as travellers can at least stop spending money on these cruel activities and that they all get a better life in the future. Thanks for reading Natasha.

      Reply

  6. Olivia

    Yes! I hate how humans abuse animals! Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply

  7. Tarun Raheja

    This is indeed heartbreaking. Animals belong to the wild and should not be used for entertainment purpose. I hope people I’ll understand this.

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Lets hope together then! Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  8. The Pretty Patriot

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve read a few things here and there about how cruel of a practice elephant riding his but I love how into detail you went. Elephants are easily my favorite animals and it’s heartbreaking to hear about what really happens to them abroad.

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Elephants are also my favourite creatures and my heart feels so heavy and sad when I see and hear all the cruelty. Thank you for taking the time to read the article.

      Reply

  9. Melissa Jellie

    I definitely rode one as a kid, but whenever I see one now at a fair or at a circus, etc. I feel really bad about it. :/

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Don’t feel bad about what happened in the past. You were a child and you did not know better. We are adults now and we make our own decisions and now we can all stand together and say NO to these animal activities. Thank you for taking the time to read the article.

      Reply

  10. Daniella Flores

    Wow… you can’t save them all but you can try!

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      I think if we (travellers) already stop spending money on these animal activities that we can at least save some animals in captivity.

      Reply

  11. abhinav

    Touching and heart wrenching. I recently saw a video on FB as well from Trip Advisor around this topic. All animal related tourism should end or be strictly monitored. Thanks for taking it up on your blog as well 🙂

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Travel related companies really need to stop with advertising for animal entertainment. Because travellers don’t understand the cruelty that is going on behind the scenes.

      Reply

  12. Dana

    I have such a hard time with animal cruelty. I know it exists but I feel so helpless as one person. And a lot of people don’t want to hear it. I’m not interested in things like the circus or the zoo. Recently I took my toddler to the zoo for the first time. I felt so torn. Thank you for your post!

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      It really makes our heart heavy and sad. Animal cruelty needs to stop. And I agree about the circus and zoo… And the hardest thing about this all is that it will probably never stop. There is a big chance that our grand kids will never see the animals we have seen in our life because they are just no longer here. Sad sad sad. Thank you for reading.

      Reply

  13. The Aesthetic Scientist

    Kudos to you for talking about this. It is shameful that humans use animals like this for their own selfish needs.

    Reply

    1. Hayley

      Thank you for taking the time to read this article. It needs more publicity so everyone knows the reality. It is hard, sad and just heartbreaking.

      Reply

  14. Mishelle Milne

    Very emotional post. I have always felt saddened, never excited when I see elephants paraded around for tourists, no matter how ‘well kept’ they seem to be. They should be in the wild and people should stop thinking they are entitled to ride these animals just because they can overpower them.

    Reply

  15. you.theworld.wandering

    I’m so glad you girls got the opportunity to go there and check it out! There’s sadly some cruel parks and practices out there, unfortunately a lot of those are in Asia. I’ve seen this too in Sri Lanka. It’s awful. Great post to help raise awareness and make people think twice before riding the beautiful creatures!
    Kristie – you.theworld.wandering

    Reply

  16. Parnashree Devi

    I completely agree. Animal Tourism is what people should not encourage. This is a great post. I am glad that you have written about it. Its really important to make people aware about the cruelty animal go through during different ride and safaris.

    Reply

  17. Nida

    I never thought about this before !! But it so true.. they have feelings like human… what if we r tired with chains and need to give ride full day in backs.. will stand with you against animal cruelty.. thumbs up 👍🏻

    Reply

  18. wonderlingblog

    I have heard so much about the cruelty associated to this ‘leisure’ activity. It is absolutely awful.

    Reply

  19. rameshlall

    Thanks a lot for writing this out. It really is inhumane to use animals for our joy and entertainment .Hope people will understand and realize the pain animals go thru and abstain from such acts.

    Reply

  20. chiimmiii

    It so true I never thought about this before !! awful 🙁

    Reply

  21. vinod verma

    True! Thanks a lot for writing.

    Reply

  22. Bhalo Haytham

    No to elephant rides! Thank you for doing this post!!!

    Reply

  23. Michelle Langi

    Great post highlighting the plight of these elephants.

    Reply

  24. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    Completely agree with you. I would rather go on safari and see elephants in their natural habitat than being paraded with idiot tourists through the streets

    Reply

  25. Phaytea's Pulse

    It’s awful if this is really how they are treated

    Reply

  26. Arunas

    Great article! Elephants born to live in the wild.

    Reply

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