There are many propaganda filled organizations that post on the media or the internet that riding elephants is cruel and supports abuse of elephants, repeating the same claims and myths. Their claims are not supported by science or even zoologists worldwide.
One of the Biggest MYTHS that is claimed is “To be ridden, Elephants are taken from the wild or separated from their mothers, and then beaten into submission to break their spirit, which is called ‘Phajaan'” – First of all, No accredited or official facility that has elephants and does elephant rides beats or harms their elephants nor steal wild elephants. Also, a Phajaan ritual is not about “breaking the spirit” of an elephant. As so written by Lalipa Nilubol, “Phajaan is essentially a ritual that, by some mysterious force no less than a miracle, succeeds in discouraging the mother elephant from being overly protective and possessive of her calf. Spells and enchantments are spoken to both mother and calf. During the rituals — that usually involve holy water, turmeric, and wood — the mother miraculously walks away from her calf, and ceases the tendency to always be reaching for her calf. It is also an ancient belief that, if the spirits and guardians protecting the soul of the calf do not approve, it would be impossible to bring the calf to live alongside humans. Thus, the Phajaan ritual also serves to seek approval from the higher forces that preside over the elephants. This symbolic separation is very important for elephants who live in domesticity, because a mother who is constantly distracted by her calf can become an extremely dangerous elephant. Without the success of the Phajaan, it is believed, the calf cannot become an independent elephant; the term ‘independent’, in this context, refers to the calf’s ability to learn from mahouts and human carers, without always having to need the mother close by.”
The Photos or Videos of Baby Elephants being beaten or placed into a chamber is not the REAL Phajaan as Animal Rights Extremists display. It is obviously an inhumane practice that those people harming the elephants are doing and PETA has taken advantage of filming it and claiming it as a “Phajaan ritual”. These people that are using brutality on elephants aren’t even preparing the elephants to be ridden but to work, like carrying loads or being part of the logging industry, which is awful but IT IS NOT what Phajaan is. TRUE Elephant Caregivers or Mahouts do not harm their elephants or place them in any danger, as so much of their time and money is dedicated to these animals and their well being or protection. Conclusion? Elephants are NOT Beaten in order to be ridden.
In fact, Elephant rides are part of their needed exercise and simulation while being in a managed environment. In time of foot work or walking is vital to keeping an elephant physically fit and healthy. Money raised by Elephant rides also contribute to the animal’s care and food expenses. It is very important for elephants to give rides in many parts of the world and banning rides is what’s harmful to the animal and caregiver or facility. Riding Elephants inspires people to understand and have a much better appreciation of these animals, and It bonds a mahout with their elephant.
Here’s a perfect and resourceful video on The TRUTH on Riding Elephants and How it is NOT HARMFUL: