Help Stamp Out The Abuse

Animal Cruelty

Every year, thousands of tourists take elephant rides on their holidays, unaware of the hidden cruelty they’re unwittingly contributing to.

It looks innocent, doesn’t it? A typical holiday scene of a magnificent elephant carrying a smiling tourist.

But the awful truth is that this elephant suffers a lifetime of pain and misery as a product in the tourist entertainment industry.

She may look like she’s cared for, but what she goes through behind the scenes paints a very different picture.

The hidden cruelty of her captivity, and how she came to be there, would horrify anyone who loves and respects animals.

A long chain of abuse

Snatched from her mother in the wild as a baby, this elephant has suffered every day since.

Most people don’t realise that elephants won’t naturally let people sit on their backs. They have to be forced into submission through a violent process called the “crush”. An elephant will only become suitable for riding or performing when their spirit has been broken in this way and they give in to their captors’ demands.


World Animal Protection Ambassador, actress Susie Porter, was shocked to find out the truth behind the scenes of elephant rides.

“I was so saddened to learn about the cruelty that these poor elephants face.

“A baby elephant, living free in the wild with the comfort of her family is suddenly snatched from her mother and held in captivity. She’s tied up, beaten with sticks studded with nails, starved and deprived of sleep for up to a week. She’s tortured like this to crush her spirit and make her submit to carrying tourists on her back.

“It’s so distressing to think of an elephant treated like this”.

As you can imagine, the traumatic process causes lasting physical and physiological pain. And it’s only the beginning of her lifetime of misery, giving rides to tourists.

Abuse of Elephants The life she should have had

Elephants are some of the most socially developed animals in the world. They’re highly intelligent and show a range of emotions including compassion and grief. And, of course, they’re well known for their long memory.


In her natural environment, this elephant would spend the first four years of her life being cared for by her mother and a strong family unit of up to 20 elephants. She’d be free to roam up to 10 km a day, eating, playing and resting when she needed to.

Sadly, that life was denied to her.

The life sentence she doesn’t deserve

Instead of being in the wild with her family group, this elephant lives in chains, and will be forced to carry tourists on her back for up to 9 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of her life.

The weight of her passengers will permanently damage her spine and the chair will cause friction blisters on her back. If she refuses to “perform” out of fear or stress, she’ll be punished into submission with more beatings.

For a wild animal that can live up to 50 years in captivity, that’s alife sentence of pain and suffering.

Tackling the issue with a world of experience

World Animal Protection has been working to bring an end to animal cruelty for over 50 years. An essential part of this commitment is to help protect wild animals and keep them in the wild where they belong.

With the support of our community, we’ll use our experience at successfully stopping other instances of cruelty to wild animals to stamp out the abuse these elephants suffer in entertainment.

We’ll work with everyone involved, from governments and the tourist industry to tourist venues and local people to raise awareness of the suffering to reduce the demand. Our dedicated team will encourage the introduction of laws to protect wild animals from exploitation and help the people who currently use captive elephants to give them a better life.

It’s a big task. An estimated 16,000 Asian elephants are captive, including those in circuses, tourist parks and zoos and every one of them deserves a better life.

Abuse of Elephants Working together, you can help us stamp out the abuse

Elephants used for entertainment are abused every day of their long lives. From the moment they are torn from their mothers to the moment they die, they have no peace.

As Susie points out, we can all play our part to help protect them from a lifetime of suffering and keep them in the wild.

“Cruelty to elephants in particular is so heartbreaking to me because elephants never forget. They’ll remember the pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. They’ll remember the bamboo sticks with nails, they’ll remember being torn from their mothers and being kept in chains.

“They desperately need us to help protect them from this hidden cruelty and trauma”.

You can help them too.

Avoid elephant rides and other activities that exploit wild animals when you’re on holiday and join us to help protect elephants and other animals from cruelty.

Visit now to make a donation or call us at 1300 139 772.