We’re on the road now, developing the Humane Tourism campaign while sharing the true story, in person and on the ground, with as many people as possible who are thinking about riding an elephant on their vacation. Most, once they hear the truth, have changed their minds.
Sitting down and having real, “live and in-person” conversations with people, without attacking or demeaning their desires but showing the implications of their desires, is a work-intensive tactic.
But it’s personal. It illuminates how their personal choices are creating a particular change (for better or for worse), and that their individual action absolutely matters—for now, and for the long run.
The web is full of graphic, brutal pictures of what it takes to break the spirit of the largest animal walking the earth so that it will submit to giving people rides. But maybe you don’t need to see it at all. Maybe its just a matter of considering what sort of world you want to live in, and how your choices move you either closer or further away from that world we’re all creating.
I took this picture at an elephant graveyard. The ritual ceremonies are impressive, but after a lifetime enslaved in the tourist industry, it’s difficult to believe anything is being grieved but the loss in income. Here’s to creating a world where honoring an elephant (indeed any sentient being) while it’s alive is far more valuable than the ceremony held after it has died