Why Riding Elephants is Okay

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To start off, Elephants have in fact been ridden by man for thousands of years, before we even started riding Horses. Technically, Elephants are Domesticated in many parts of the world and are also key working animals as they can easily pull up 2,500 pounds and lift about 800 pounds alone with their trunks. They are beneficial for both our environment and society, which is why it is important to preserve these animals for the future.

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.


The Second Biggest MYTH is that Elephant backs are not made for riding or carrying heavy loads. Pictured ABOVE is a comparison of  Horse, Elephant and Camel skeletal systems, all whom are common animals ridden by humans and have been ridden by man for thousands of years. As you can see, They all have similarity to their vertebrate in one way or another. Elephants in particular can actually carry over 1,000 pounds on their backs. Elephant’s are not affected by 3 to 5 people on their backs at a time, and People riding them do not affect their health overall. Animal Rights extremists like to say that It causes Arthritis or leg issues. The Majority of Arthritis is from an Elephant being exposed to asphalt or concrete for long periods of time, and the majority of elephants in circuses or other elephant ride venues do not house their elephants on hard surfaces for most of their lives.

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:

So, If you love Elephants and Riding one is on your bucket list, Go for it because there is nothing wrong with riding an elephant. With thousands of years of man riding them and barely any issues, It is clear Elephants are not mistreated nor is their health harmed from people riding them. If you are still against riding elephants, You are entitled to your opinion but the FACTS are clear here, and just because you are against something doesn’t mean to take the rights away from others. It is common sense – Against it? Don’t support it and don’t spread rumors or propaganda just because you are against it.

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