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Feb 20, 2020

What’s your viewpoint on the ethics of using “tamed” wild animals as Tourist Attractions?

For instance: Elephant riding and Tiger photo-ops.

On my first trip to Thailand in 2006, I had no concerns whatsoever about going on a short trek as a rider of an elephant, nor taking my picture with two semi-comatose tigers. At least, I hoped they were… at a minimum… well fed and patient… the tigers I mean…

It’s almost a decade and a half later, and I’ve paid attention to the concerns of animal activists and the like. But, I’m still not sure that it’s as huge a problem as the vociferous naysayers claim.

I can agree that elephant training methods may be vicious and harmful, long term, to the elephant. And that those patient snoozing tigers are drugged. But I have no actual experience here.

But I do fear that it’s true…

So I no longer go for an elephant ride… not advocate taking photos right next to a tiger.

I do advocate visiting any of several ethical rescue parks for elephants. My cousin Libby went for 2 days to the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, and was thrilled with how the rescued elephants were rehabilitated, treated well, and allowed to roam free… albeit within a small sanctuary.

Read her story.

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