You’ve probably seen the photos on Instagram – smiling tourists sitting atop majestic elephants captioned with something along the lines of “experience of a lifetime” or a profession of how much they love elephants. While these pictures may look magical, they have a dark side.

Most elephants used for tourist attractions in cities such as Jaipur have been physically and mentally abuse in order to make them submissive. After they are stolen from the wild, they undergo “phajaan,” which involves “breaking their spirits” through repeated beatings with bullhooks and other items. During their lifetime of work, they are beaten, denied proper care, and kept in heavy chains. As a result of the beatings and walking around all day on busy roads, many elephants suffer a variety of medical issues – from torn feet and cracked nails, to impaired vision and bloody wounds. Sadly, these maladies often go untreated.

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Of course, many of the people who take part in these attractions truly don’t realize what horrors the elephants had to endure for these attractions. They just are excited by the opportunity to be so close to these amazing pachyderms. That’s why it’s so important to spread information about the cruelty that is inherent to elephant riding attractions. With education and information, we can all make more kind and ethical decisions.

The pandemic has caused a temporary pause on elephant rides in Jaipur, but things could change soon – especially with the increase in travel and vaccines. Sign this petition to bring this abusive practice to a permanent end — for the captive elephants caught in this sad life today and for the wild elephants who will be poached tomorrow if nothing is done

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To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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