This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post
Some of the world's most popular vacation entertainments involve wild animals. Before people book their visits, though, they should stop and think. If you saw an elephant in the wild, would you leap on its back and expect it to calmly take you for a ride? And if you saw a tiger, the last thing you would do is wander up to it, hug it and take a selfie. Your life expectancy would be short. So if they wouldn't do it in the wild, how come they do it in captivity? The answer lies in the unseen suffering animals endure before tourists ever reach them.
Young elephants, usually captured from the wild, are chained in tiny pens, unable even to turn around. Regular beatings break their spirit. Then the real work begins.
Restrained by chains, isolated from other elephants, kept in bright sunlight on hot concrete that hurts his feet - until it's time to carry the next heavy load of excited tourists on his back, controlled by a bull hook if he puts a foot wrong. Such is the life of an elephant ‘working' in tourism entertainment in Asia today.