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When Elephants Weep

Written by PETA | August 20, 2010
Bethany L. King / CC by No Derivs 2.0
Indiana State Fair Elephant Rides

After seeing an exhausted and utterly dispirited elephant being forced to give rides all day long at the Indiana State Fair, one visitor wrote us, stating, “[T]his elephant’s plight absolutely breaks my heart. … [H]e looks old, tired, thin, and completely miserable. … The sadness in this animal’s eyes brought me to tears.” Another said, “The pain [in the elephant’s eyes] was evident. … [M]y … daughter was reduced to crying so hard at witnessing this that our day was pretty well ruined.” Clearly haunted by what she saw, our first tipster added, “I think this elephant is not only a slave, but he’s just plain lonely in his misery. He is clearly so terribly heartbroken.”

Life on the road is miserable for elephants who are forced to perform at fairs, carnivals, festivals, and circuses. In contrast, for elephants in the wild, each day is filled with traveling, socializing, exploring, swimming, mud-bathing, playing, and foraging. Elephants experience joy, sadness, and fear. Their level of self-awareness continues to amaze researchers worldwide, and it’s obvious that this poor elephant who is being dragged around the fair circuit knows exactly what she’s missing.

By the way, last year in Indiana, at least 15 children and one adult were injured when an elephant who was being used for rides became startled and stumbled, knocking over the stairway leading to the ride. Several years ago, an elephant grabbed a woman as she was dismounting from a ride and threw her against a tree three times. The woman was in a body brace for three months. And while carrying children on her back at a state fair, an elephant panicked, knocking down and then stepping on the handler. A 3-year-old girl was also injured after falling off the elephant. The list goes on.

Please contact Indiana State Fair officials and ask them to permanently do away with elephant rides.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Stephanie Holden says:

    Just emailed the Indiana State Fairl Let’s hope this isn’t an issue for next year’s fair. It makes me absolutely sick and incredibly saddened for the animals involved.

  • Tricia says:

    I just sent an email to the Indiana State Fair begging them to doaway with the elephant rides. Nothing saddens me more than to think about such an intelligent creature being forced to give rides to humans when all they really want is to live free with their other family members. A very sad day for me and for these beautiful animals! PLEASE SEND A MESSAGE NOW!!!!

  • James says:

    As sad as this story there is a positive in the fact that this small child the younger generation actually “get’s it”! Blessings to those who have true compassion for these obviously tortured souls. There is HOPE

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    If I had seen a thin unhappy looking elephant or any elephant for that matter being forced to give rides at the Orange County Fair I would have been on the telephone to the Orange County California Health Department. I would have told them it is a known fact that elephants are carriers of tuberculosis and have been known to pass the disease on to humans. I would have kept calling emailing and just generally nagging them until something was done even if it took years to get them to ban elephant rides at the fair. I would have been like the woman in the bible who kept bringing her petition to a dishonest judge until the judge granted her request. I also would have protested the elephant ride personally by picketing it every day and handing out free dvd’s. When I got thrown out I would have protested in the parking lot.