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Why Tourists Should Never Get Elephant Massages

Mark Andrew

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  • Elephant massages, which are popular in Thailand and other Asian countries, are often being offered to tourists.
  • According to reports, these animals have been subjected to harsh training.

You may have seen some social media photos and videos of people getting massages from elephants. And if you’re the adventure-seeker type, the idea might even seem appealing to you. It sure sounds like an interesting thing to add on your bucket list!

However, the fact of the matter is this: you’d probably condemn elephant massages once you learn the tragic truth behind the practice.Exciting and adorable would be the last words you’d use to describe it.

Usually, the pictures and clips you’ll encounter online are taken from Phuket, Thailand or other countries in Asia. In the posts, you’ll see one or two elephants mildly stepping or using their trunks to massage a tourist.

Netizens often praise the impressive “gentle giants” about their ability to give a massage but, of course, these animals have experienced extreme cruelty while they were being trained for that.

In a The Dodo feature, we learn that most of the elephants are taken from their mothers while they were very young.

According to the article, the training, often referred to as “elephant crush,” usually involves “stabbing or injuring the baby elephants, locking them in small cages and subjecting them to starvation, thirst and sleep deprivation.” In some cases, the elephants do not make it out of the training alive.

The cruelty breaks an elephant’s spirit and allows a trainer to make the animal do things that are out of the ordinary – such as giving a massage, giving rides to tourists, or even performing tricks in a circus.

Watch this video:

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So yes, supporting this type of practice is definitely a bad idea if you are aware about what happens behind the scenes.

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