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