I have recently seen two well-known companies, Lloyds bank and Jetstar(Subsidiary of QANTAS AIRLINES) using pictures of tourists riding elephants as part of their advertising campaigns.
It makes me really sad to see that they are advocating elephant riding. Before the elephants are ready for tourist riding, they have to have their spirit broken first. This is done in cruel ways such as separating them from their mothers as babies, keeping them locked up in small cages and using sharp tools to make them behave. Many Thai “mahouts” (traditional elephant riders) turn to tourism to try to make money.
If you or anyone you know is planning to go elephant trekking on their holiday please reconsider. There are a few Ethical places in Thailand where you can have a positive experience interacting with elephants but not riding them. Please check out this article below which highlights 7 ethical experiences. Last January, my mum, my cousin and I visited Elephant hills where we were able to observe, wash and feed the elephants. The whole experience lasted just one hour.
We can always do better.