Elephant rides in Thailand: Fun or cruel?

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Nueng the elephant is an attraction for rides - though it's unlikely to be his choice. The 30 year old male is one of the elephants in the Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.

Taking an elephant ride is at the top of many tourists' wishlists. It's a thriving business, particularly with Chinese holidaymakers. However, resistance to this popular spectacle is growing among animal welfare organisations. Consequently, many elephant camps now only offer visitors the chance to feed the animals or bathe with them. Yet these "No riding" camps disappoint most tourists. Many animal welfare activists are convinced that elephants in captivity are subjected to a cruel taming procedure when they are young. The staff responsible for the camp would rather not say whether Nueng and the other elephants have been tortured in this way. We accompany Nueng the riding elephant on a typical day's work. A report by Florian Nusch.