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Elephant Ride Vietnam Asia Tourism

We've all seen photos on Facebook of friends riding elephants in India or Thailand. Most of us would love to ride on an elephant's back - who wouldn't?

But I bet you didn't know the treatment these captive elephants receive is far less rosy than it appears on the outside.

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Elephant Asia Torture Crushing Tourism Travel

Phajaan or "Crushing" is practiced in Asia as a means of crushing the animal's spirit so it is submissive to humans.

Elephants in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, India and more are caged, starved, beaten, stabbed and kept awake for days until they become submissive under the torture, according to animal protection group Fighters Against Animal Cruelty. Many die from lack of water, stress and injuries.

Tourists don't necessarily realise that riding an elephant is doing the animal harm - but sadly these animals are taken away from their mothers when they are young and then caged.

Back in 2002, National Geographic released this graphic video of a baby elephant being beaten and terrorised

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Elephant Asia Torture Crushing Tourism Travel 2

These elephants not only go on to be used for elephant rides, but also in circuses as well.

In 2010, World Animal Protection documented the living conditions of captive elephants in Thailand in their report Wildlife on a Tightrope. Of the 1,688 captive elephants in 118 venues, more than half were in terrible conditions.

You can read more about captive elephants in Asia in this brilliant but heartbreakingly sad article by The Dodo.

The majority of people who go on elephant rides claim to be animal lovers. If they knew the truth, then they probably wouldn't go on an elephant ride again.

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