Two Sides Debate the Controversial Issue of ‘Contact’ Elephant Tourism in Thailand

With travel in recovery, animal welfare groups are debating whether it is the correct move to restore controversial elephant tourism, particularly in Thailand. World Animal Protection (WAP) hopes that two years without tourists will be the catalyst for elephant tourism operators to end controversial business practices such as riding on the animals, and switch to “observation-only.” For animal activists, the end goal is stopping captive elephants from being used in commercial tourism, reports TTG Asia.

On the other hand, Thailand-based Asian Captive Elephant Standards (ACES) argues that outright bans will only hurt elephants, owners, and a long line of local businesses and communities. ACES hopes the lack of tourists will lead to a chance to advance regulation that will enable venues to offer riding and other “touching” activities without harming the elephants.

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