The results of the study emphasized the suffering of animals used for entertainment and trapped in a life filled with misery. Underfed and chained up for days at a time, these elephants suffer daily abuse.Researchers from the association visited more than 200 attractions across Asia which feature elephants. Out of the 923 elephants studied, the vast majority lived in Thailand, with the others being from India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal. Although Cambodian elephants are treated relatively well, this is not the case for those in Thailand or India, where the poor animals are subjected to inhumane treatment.
Separated from their mothers as babies, the animals suffer a terrible training period, based on coercion and abuse. Denied food and kept in chains, they are forced to carry tourists on their backs for hours every day with little rest. The study also highlighted:
When they are not being used for these 'elephant back tours' or shows, the elephants are locked up night and day, most often with a chain less than 3 meters long. The food they are given is insufficient, they seldom see a veterinarian and they are often kept in places where they become stressed, with loud music or large groups of tourists, on a concrete floor.
Source: Getty Images
Alternative solutions are becoming more common to try and reverse this practice and promote a more dignified and respectful approach to elephants. Gone are the long, agonizing walks through forests, replaced with tourists simply watching the animals in sanctuaries. The WPSA explained:
Across Asia, we found 13 venues where elephants are offered the best possible care and are free to be elephants without offering rides, shows or selfies.
Only raised awareness from tourists can help put an end to this cruel practice. The WPSA have launched a petition to put pressure on this barbaric industry in the hope that things will change. You too can help by signing it here.
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