Friday, June 10, 2016

POTD: Elephant Help Desk

From 2016 02 09 Jaipur

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Amber Fort in Jaipur, India, where elephants are used to carry tourists up the hill to the main courtyard of the fort. I prefer to believe that the existence of a help desk for the Elephant Owners Development Society is evidence that the animals are treated humanely. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

In May, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired their circus elephants, finally yielding to years of criticism for mistreatment of the animals. Good. Hauling elephants from city to city to city in boxcars is cruel. That's enough of an issue all by itself for me to cheer Ringling's decision.

So what do I think of using elephants to haul tourists up to Amber Fort? These elephants live out their whole working lives in the vicinity of the fort, so the boxcar travel isn't a problem. I can't say how well the animals are treated when they aren't working. I suspect that's a problem at the Amber Fort as at the circus. So the pleasure I received from my own elephant ride is tinged with a touch of sadness and concern for these magnificent animals.

From 2016 02 09 Jaipur

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