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galwaygirl

Elephant Rides- Cruelty?

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Hi everyone, :o

I'l be in thailand this summer and a great deal of my time will be spent in Chiang Mai. Since i was a kid i have always loved elephants but i have never got to see one upclose. :D

when i first started researching my stay in thailand i noticed alot of elephant rides and tours ect. I also came across some worrying pieces about the cruelty against elephants. :D

I've always wanted to have a ride on a elephant but now im not sure. is there anywhere in chiang mai where you can get a ride on an elephant without the cruelty? :D Or is this impossible?

any info would be of great help. :D

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Hi everyone, :o

I'l be in thailand this summer and a great deal of my time will be spent in Chiang Mai. Since i was a kid i have always loved elephants but i have never got to see one upclose. :D

when i first started researching my stay in thailand i noticed alot of elephant rides and tours ect. I also came across some worrying pieces about the cruelty against elephants. :D

I've always wanted to have a ride on a elephant but now im not sure. is there anywhere in chiang mai where you can get a ride on an elephant without the cruelty? :D Or is this impossible?

any info would be of great help. :D

sure no problem. there are a number of Elephant sanctuaries not to far from Chiang Mai. Elephant Nature Park is like 30 km north of CM and you can be a paid guest volunteer for a week or whatever stay there and help take care of the elephants. Their goals are to take care of the elephants and educate the public about the abuses and cruelty. You can ride them around also.

There is another large one to the south of city that is well thought of but I don't know the details. I would just inquire to tour operators about "Sanctuaries" and try a few day trips to find the one you like the most.

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I don't think that there is anything cruel about riding the elephants. Cruel is bring them into the city and making them beg.

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I don't think that there is anything cruel about riding the elephants. Cruel is bring them into the city and making them beg.

Exactly.

If riding elephants is cruel what about the poor old horse, camel, donkey, llama, yak, giraffe and emus.

I think they would be far better off taking tourists for joy rides than lugging timber through the jungle, as in the past... :o

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I don't think that there is anything cruel about riding the elephants. Cruel is bring them into the city and making them beg.

The way elephants are taught to accept people riding on their back is by beating them and thus killing their spirit.

If you really care about the elephants, first make a visit to one of the few elephant centers who don't do elephant shows or treks like the Elephant Nature Park north from Chiang Mai (Click here), and only afterwards make up your own mind about doing an elephant trek or not.

There's more info on the National Geographic news site. Click here.

This information is not meant to sound like Thais are exceptionally cruel to all animals. Intentional cruelty to animals is a sure indication of sociopathic behavior no matter what the race or nationality of the perpetrator.

I don't have all the answers, but what I do know is the method used in Thailand (perhaps not by everyone) to 'train' the elephants is beating them, sleep deprevation and other nasty acts. From what I've personally witnessed, this appears to be used in Phuket at least. From what I read online, this appears to be the method most often applied.

What would happen if no one rides them?

Well, they could be retired to one of the parks/operations that simply take care of them and don't exploit them for $$. From what I've heard, Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, does a good job of taking care of the animals.

Some could be released back into the wild. "In a bid to reverse the precipitous decline of elephants in the wild, Thailand's Queen Sirikit has encouraged an experiment to release some from the royal household. The results could be significant for other parts of the world with plummeting elephant populations, writes Leyla Alyanak." from this website..

Also, take a look at this article..

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I don't think that there is anything cruel about riding the elephants.

Perhaps when you get on board? :o Just kidding.

I suspect she is referring to the handling and care taking of the elephants. Most of what I've seen they seem to be well handled, fed and bathed. May not be so in all camps though, just the ones I've seen and that's been a long time ago.

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If riding elephants is cruel what about the poor old horse, camel, donkey, llama, yak, giraffe and emus.

I think they would be far better off taking tourists for joy rides than lugging timber through the jungle, as in the past... :D

Those poor animals were/are abused too. What's your point?

You 'think' they would be better off because you're not the one being beaten into submission so some unenlightened tourist can sit his/her fat arse on your back. :o

Plus, from everyone I know who has ridden on a elephant, it's not that fun and certainly not as rewarding as feeding and/or bathing them. Elephant rides are offered because it's easy to copy. :D

You are correct in saying that lugging timber through the jungle was no fun. I've seen some very disturbing videos with elephants being beaten to tow a log that was way too big even for the full-grown elephant in the video.

I don't see any examples of Buddhist compassion in this country. I see the exact opposite in most cases. :D

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Plus, from everyone I know who has ridden on a elephant, it's not that fun and certainly not as rewarding as feeding and/or bathing them. Elephant rides are offered because it's easy to copy.

Riding an elephant is a bit of a once in a lifetime experience in that it is, for most people, quite fun the first time, but not all that exciting the second time. Unless you have a large covered howdah with lots of pillows and a few concubines along for the ride, elephants are not the best form of personal transportation.

That being said, if the elephants were not domesticated, not a pleasant transformational process as one can imagine but not as horrific as many would have you believe, then the alternative would be eradication.

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I don't see any examples of Buddhist compassion in this country. I see the exact opposite in most cases. :o

I also do not see Buddhism in practice too often in Thailand, and I am in disagreement with a number of respected western academics in that I see Thailand as being fundamentally an animist culture. But I am friends with an owner of one of the larger elephant camps up north and I consider him to be one of the more compassionate hi-so Thais that I have met, a man who has gone the extra mile to provide for the elephants under his care.

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Well for the elephants do all those tricks I have to assume lot of beating goes on. I could be wrong, but makes me wonder. :o As for riding them - not very comfy, and you wont be impressed for too long. :D

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If riding elephants is cruel what about the poor old horse, camel, donkey, llama, yak, giraffe and emus.

I think they would be far better off taking tourists for joy rides than lugging timber through the jungle, as in the past... :D

Those poor animals were/are abused too. What's your point? Elephants are larger, therefore can handle the weight better than a horse, etc..

You 'think' they would be better off because you're not the one being beaten into submission so some unenlightened tourist can sit his/her fat arse on your back. :oI would prefer they were all free but that's not the world we live in now, is it ?

Plus, from everyone I know who has ridden on a elephant, it's not that fun and certainly not as rewarding as feeding and/or bathing them. Elephant rides are offered because it's easy to copy. :DFun the first time, boring thereafter. That's from everyone that i know thats done it.

You are correct in saying that lugging timber through the jungle was no fun. I've seen some very disturbing videos with elephants being beaten to tow a log that was way too big even for the full-grown elephant in the video.At least we agree on something :D

I don't see any examples of Buddhist compassion in this country. I see the exact opposite in most cases. :DThats a pity you see it that way. I guess we all choose to see what we want to see. I see compassion and loving kindness everywhere.. :D

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I don't think that there is anything cruel about riding the elephants. Cruel is bring them into the city and making them beg.

abso-bloody-lutely

i hate when they bring the Chang into the city ... i just walk away

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Riding elephants is not necessarily cruel. Elephants are quite capable of carrying the weight of several people and a howdah or chair without any negative effects. What does cause problems is ill-fitting or poorly designed howdahs which either put weight directly on an elephant's spine or cause chafing and rope burn. Most decent commercial elephant camps will make sure the howdahs are correctly fitted for economic reasons as much as any other as a sick elephant can't work and is useless to the owner.

The best way to ride elephants is bareback sitting on the neck or head. This will cause the elephant no discomfort and is an incredible experience. I believe this is possible at some of the smaller family elephant camps and at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) in Lampang.

There are good and bad elephant tourist camps around Chiang Mai. I have seen some terrible things in some of the camps that are not only extremely cruel and harmful to the elephant but also likely to make them a danger for people that come into contact with them. I have also seen some very good camps where elephant care and welfare is clearly a priority and would highlight Mae Sa as one of these.

Elephant Nature Park used to permit natural riding but stopped several years ago, a decision that I personally felt was a mistake but was widely supported by most people involved with the project.

On the training issue, again it does not necessarily have to be cruel. Elephants are highly intelligent animals and their propensity for learning is strong but the standards of mahoutship and traditional elephant knowledge has massively declined in the modern world. Many of the people I have observed working with elephants in Thailand do not have the required skills or the patience or time to train an elephant without cruelty. The TECC has been working hard over a number of years to try to correct this but it is an uphill struggle.

One final point the tourist industry is vital to the survival of elephants in Thailand so people should be encouraged to see elephants here. If you want to ride choose a reputable camp. If you go to a camp and have concerns about the elephant's welfare challenge the operator or publicise a bad experience. I have long felt that there should be a minimum enforceable welfare standard for camps but TIT and this may be a long time coming.

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But I am friends with an owner of one of the larger elephant camps up north and I consider him to be one of the more compassionate hi-so Thais that I have met, a man who has gone the extra mile to provide for the elephants under his care.

Thanks Johpa... I'm sure there are plenty of kind-hearted Thais. I'm married to one.

From my personal experience, I've seen a lot of cruelty. I've seen elephants tortured and beaten. The state of dogs and cats, often thrown away at temples, is heart-breaking. I don't like to stereotype people, but from my experience, Thais seem totally unconcerned about the suffering of other sentient beings. :o

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I don't see any examples of Buddhist compassion in this country. I see the exact opposite in most cases. :DThats a pity you see it that way. I guess we all choose to see what we want to see. I see compassion and loving kindness everywhere.. :D

Sorry, but you're wrong.

I didn't choose to see the mahout from Siam Safari beat the crap out of an elephant. I just happened to be there when it happened.

I didn't choose to see the mahout throwing rocks at an elephant that was on a very short chain tied to a post. He was evidently trying to hit the elephant in the eye with a rock.

I didn't choose to see a baby elephant being whacked repeatedly with a long piece of rattan for not keeping as close to the other elephants.

I didn't choose to see the many puppies born with mange who will undoubtedly live their entire life in pain and misery.

I didn't choose to see all of the dogs and cats that are thrown away at temples throughout the country. I just happened to go to the temple with my Thai wife.

I didn't choose to see baby gibbons paraded around Patong so unsuspecting tourists can pay to get their photos taken with these poor animals whose parents were shot in order to be captured.

The list goes on and on. It wasn't my choice to see these things as you so eloquently accuse. I've been here for over 15 years and I've seen things that sicken me... not by choice. :o

Sorry, but I care about the welfare of animals and people. I don't ration my compassion. There are Thais who are very kind-hearted, but overall, unfortunately, I see more suffering than a peaceful coexistence.

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BANGKOK 20 February 2018 06:41
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