A frightened elephant forced to participate in a religious procession from a temple near Colombo, Sri Lanka, with a man riding on her back carrying what appears to be a bullhook—a spear-like weapon with a sharp hook that’s used to strike elephants—panicked and ran into the crowd. Moments later, a second scared elephant also attempted to flee. At least 18 people have been reported injured in the incident.
Elephants are intelligent, self-aware animals. But across Asia, they’re subjected to horrific physical and psychological abuse in order to force them to give rides, tolerate being covered with paint or other decoration, and come into direct contact with the public. It’s little wonder that so many reach their breaking point.
This incident is another powerful reminder that no elephant—or other animal—should ever be exploited for human entertainment or any other reason. Sri Lanka and other countries must stop using live elephants during rituals and instead parade elaborate models of the animals.
What Can You Do
Steer clear of festivals in which elephants are paraded, and please avoid visiting any attraction that offers or endorses elephant rides. Until tourists stop paying to ride them, elephants will continue to face exploitation and abuse. And please share this information with friends and family—the more people who know about the heartbreaking cruelty behind elephant rides, the sooner it will end.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter