Riding elephants might appear to be innocent, but other people might label it as animal cruelty in exchange for money and greed at its worst. These elephants are stolen as babies from their families in the wild and they are beaten until they can’t take it any more in order to break their spirit and force them into a life of enslavement to line people’s pockets.
Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign ‘Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse’ in India. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative ‘elephant riding’ tourism industry. The campaign also focuses on the elephant riding industry in Jaipur, the epicentre of the abusive trade. The two above mentioned animal welfare organizations Peace 4 Animals’ and ‘Wildlife SOS’ claim that more than 100 elephants are enslaved in Jaipur and exploited to carry tourists up to the Amer Fort. According to Katie Cleary, Founder of Peace 4 Animals and World Animal News awareness messages have been distributed across marketing platforms such as billboards, auto-rickshaw, airline magazines, as well as on digital media throughout Jaipur and the world. said.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about the horrors that elephants are subjected to so that people around the world can make an educated and compassionate decision to help end this abhorrent industry by refusing to ride elephants,” added Cleary.
The campaign gathered that most tourists are unaware that the elephants exploited by tourism are put through a cruel practice called phajaan (breaking of the spirit). These elephants obey commands to avoid further beatings, are forced into hard labour for up to 18 hours a day for 50 years or more until they finally collapse or die. These mammals are often starved and deprived of medical care for acute injuries, reports the campaign.
“We have found that most tourists would be horrified if they knew the mistreatment that these beautiful elephants endure just to provide them with a few hours of entertainment. Our hope is that this message will resonate with animal lovers around the globe and that people who love elephants won’t ride them,” concluded Nikki Sharp, Executive Director of Wildlife SOS.