The Five Freedoms for Elephants in Captivity
Talking about “freedoms” when there are thousands of elephants living in captivity might read as an oxymoron, but “The Five Freedoms” were developed as international standards of care in 1965. And yet, enforcement is a mirage, with tremendous lifelong suffering brought about from ignoring these basic tenets of responsible, compassionate care.
We’re embarking on an educational project to inspire, empower, and promote the Five Freedoms as standards of care that can be easily recognizable for all who might participate in, or dream of, a close elephant-interaction. We asked our wise friend, long term elephant advocate and magical artist Jodi Thomas, to create a beautiful awareness piece for each of the 5 Freedoms, and lucky for everyone she agreed!
After completing each of the 5 pieces, Jodi made them available for purchase by donation to help fund the future of our Five Freedoms outreach! Jodi shares:
“It has been an honor to create these 5 artworks for the amazing ngo HeartOfGanesh, which is compassionately and tirelessly kept running by the incredible Sundari SitaRam… Sundari came to me with her idea for the 5 freedoms project, which she wanted depicted in a way that represented the positive outcomes of the 5 freedoms of animal welfare put into action. We brainstormed (which we both love so much) and this is what was born from our combined efforts…
The goal of these images is to raise awareness for the welfare and wellbeing of all animals… but of course the focus she chose was captive elephants, because their living situations around the world are quite complicated and controversial to say the least…
Those of you who know me well from my time working for elephants, know I always emphasized ‘imagine how you would feel if you were in that elephant’s situation’?
So here, the elephants tell you how they feel, in hopes that this may help people to have more respect and understanding for these incredible beings who deserve not to be treated as giant teddybears or pets or as a photo op prop, let alone being forced to breed, perform circus tricks, give rides, beg on the streets or be confined in a zoo… the list of exploitations goes on and on…
These 5 original works of art, all 30 x 40cm on art board, need permanent homes. Your acquisition of one (or all) will support the amazing work of Sundari and Heart of Ganesh… 100% of the proceeds go directly to HG, who strive to achieve their mission with compassion, honesty and integrity“.
Updates for Jodi’s “Five Freedoms” art, along with sharing just what each Freedom is and how you can help make them a reality, coming soon! We’re currently in transition back to Cambodia after almost 3 years in Thailand, but we couldn’t wait to share the beautiful foundation being laid for this project!
For many years, Jodi has been a powerful voice of truth-telling about the reality of Thailand’s elephants in captivity, making these pieces even more treasured. Her art allows and invites conversations about how things are, and how things could be, by acknowledging the part we all can play in creating the most compassionate future possible for these innocent, sentient beings. Thank you, Jodi!