Elephant rides in Kanchanaburi
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 19, 2012 9:09 PM Last Post By: thaibeachlovers
Dec 17, 2012 11:25 PM
Elephant rides in KanchanaburiHi,
I am confused over the whole elephant ride situation - is it cruel? We are not bad people so don't want to be involved in something that is cruel, but reading the posts on this forum some people say it is, and some say that these animals are so strong that it isn't cruel and people have ridden on elephants for thousands of years - so maybe those people that say it is cruel just mean that some locations / companies mis treat the animals, but that doesn't mean that the act of riding them is cruel?
If it is not cruel, where is the best place in Kanchanaburi to ride them please? I just want my children to have a ride on them down by the river but the Internet suggests a days trek etc - we won't have time for that, we will have a couple of hours at most.
Many thanks in advance for any help.
Dec 17, 2012 11:46 PM
Dec 18, 2012 4:06 AM
2Never on an elephant, but I've ridden on other animals - horses, camels (I even rode on my Dad's back when I was a kid). There's nothing intrinsically cruel about riding on them.
I suppose the issue of cruelty has more to do with how the animals are being treated at whatever place they're being kept.
Animal exploitation is a legitimate concern somewhere down the line, but it's also a 'politically correct' hot topic that some people get a sense of moral superiority from, and this can confuse the real issues.
Dec 18, 2012 7:00 AM
3Well said #2, there are so many experts out there these days.
OP just use common sense. Go look at the elephants before you ride and see for yourself how they are treated. Look at their general condition, look for obvious signs of mis-treatment, physical and mental. Look at the interaction between keepers and elephants. If you are satisfied with what you see then ride to your hearts content.
I've never ridden elephants, just bathed and swum with them, but that's what I would do in your shoes.
Dec 18, 2012 7:03 AM
4I think it is more about animal explotiation. I did see a tree trimming crew in Ko Samui working from a platform on an elephant's back. The workers cut the branches and the elephant picked them up and put them into a truck. I had mixed feelings about it. The elephant was used as a beast of burden, but he was fed and cared for.
Dec 18, 2012 7:07 AM
5Yes, its not to do with being on an elephant. They could probably handle 12 men before they even feel it. Its in regards to how they are treated before and after. The Kanchanaburi one we did looked better then many Ive seen. They walk them through the river with you, and overall, look in good shape. Ive ridden many elephants, but to be honest, I dont know what goes on behind the curtains when Im away...so what # 3 said is a good rule to follow.
Now lets talk about those tiger camps lol...whole different issue....which I know, has been discussed 1000's of times on this forum
Dec 18, 2012 7:11 AM
Dec 18, 2012 9:48 AM
7There are many different views on if riding is cruel. My personal belief is that if they are having your ride bareback and only putting one or two people on, it's OK. Once they stack on the seat and 3 or 4 people, it's cruel for the elephant.
Are they using scythes and slashing them so they listen? You can see scars on elephants to see if they were torture trained. If they have tears in their ears, that's a sign that the scythes were being used. If their elephants are bobbing their heads back and forth (regardless of people saying hey are doing it because they are having fun), it's a sign that they are very stressed and not being treated well. If the elephants are being kept in small living quarters instead of out in the open (with shade) with just chains around a leg, that's better. If they are being kept and made to walk on concrete, that's very bad for them.
If you are going to Chiang Mai, I'd wait and go there to the Elephant Nature Park. Lek Chailert, who runs it, is world famous for her animal rights activism.
Dec 18, 2012 11:11 AM
Dec 18, 2012 11:33 AM
Dec 18, 2012 11:43 AM
Dec 18, 2012 2:29 PM
As a lifelong champion of animal rights I have to say that I have ridden an elephant, owned horses too and ridden them. I am with the ok to do it lobby. In a perfect world etc etc, but we do not live in one, sadly.
I made sure before I rode that the animal was well cared for and of course the issue really is about that and not about 1 grown man sitting on such powerful beasts. As long as your participation is somewhat to the benefit of the said animal go for it.
Dec 18, 2012 5:13 PM
12As long as they are not chained to the side of the road (and there are plenty like that in Thailand), well cared for, not carted around the streets of Bangkok for people to 'feed', then yes, go for it. There are a couple of places in Kan, I have visited one, the animals seemed well looked after. I say why not? Just don't become one of these 'volunteers' (who actually pay for the pleasure) who think they are doing some animal welfare project when, in reality, they are lining someones pocket.
Dec 19, 2012 9:09 PM
13Unfortunately, elephants no longer have a place as a beast of burden in Thailand since they stopped legal logging, so the elephants you see have no means of survival other than as tourist attractions. They cost a lot to keep, so if no one pays to ride/ see them, they will end up either being killed, chained to a tree at a monastery till they die or being released into the jungle where they will die, as they cannot survive in the wild.
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