Elephant Riding

Are all kinds of elephant riding unethical?

Unlike a horse, an elephant’s spinal structure is not built for carrying a load. Any form of riding from bare back to using a howdah, a wooden or metal seating frame, is uncomfortable and damaging to the physiology of elephants.

Why is riding elephants so bad?

  • Elephants are trained using “Phajaan” which is a training method based around negative reinforcement
  • Elephants are whacked in their most sensitive areas with “bull hooks” which are spears with hooks on the end
  • To perform in shows and circuses, elephants may be subjected to million volt shocks in order to get them to stand on their front feet
  • Elephants are worked beyond exhaustion, some even having to see tourists even if they are dangerous

What is a better way to see elephants?

  • National parks
  • Ethical sanctuaries
  • Road sides
  • Safaris


Author: Jessie Panazzolo

As a conservationist, I aim to inspire the public to be more engaged with the environment and the wildlife around them. It is my hope that everyone will realize that no matter what their career may be, they can also be a conservationist by demonstrating empathetic behaviour to wildlife.

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