Elephants and tourism
Sir, – Conor Pope’s otherwise excellent article “Using a travel agent: Peace of mind or needless expense?” (Life, May 13th) was somewhat marred by a stock photograph showing children riding elephants in Thailand.
Contrary to what is widely assumed, there is a darker story behind this seemingly harmless pursuit. To prepare them for the pleasure of tourists, young elephants are taken from their mothers, and then caged, and beaten to make them submissive. Again contrary to popular belief, elephants don’t enjoy being ridden, and their spines become injured through bearing excessive pressures.
How easy it would have been to show elephants in the wild (on a safari) or in the sanctuaries now being set up for elephants rescued from cruel exploitation by tourism. – Yours, etc,