The feature documentary An Elephant Never Forgets follows the same path that thousands of British tourists take every year as they visit elephant attractions in Thailand. Joe Keogh, a comedian from Manchester, offers a great deal of insight into the living and working conditions of the many elephants used and abused in the tourism industry.
Joe uncovers the uncomfortable truth behind the elephants’ obedience and takes viewers around some of the local camps and zoos to convey a sense of what these magnificent animals are subjected to on a daily basis. The reality is very bleak, with numerous elephants swaying from side to side – an indicator of stress and ill health – and chained up with barely any room for movement.
The film also takes a look at sanctuaries that offer refuge to elephants abused in the logging, circus and tourism industries. Joe meets sanctuary owner Lek Chailert, who spends her time taking care of rescued elephants. The joy that can be seen in this nature park is worlds away from the cruelty of the tourist camps, a sad comparison that is especially poignant since her sanctuary borders a tourist park and cruel elephant rides can be seen in the background of the sanctuary footage.
You can help!
The days of these cruel attractions may soon be numbered as companies stop promoting them. Travel agency Responsible Travel no longer promotes trips that include elephant treks or elephant performances, and STA Travel, the world’s largest student travel company, has pulled promotions for elephant rides as well as Thailand’s notorious Tiger Temple and SeaWorld.
Tourists today have so many fantastic opportunities available to them that it’s easy to have a vacation filled with cruelty-free memories. If you encounter any attraction that includes captive animals, walk the other way.
Around 800,000 Britons visit Thailand each year. Please help raise awareness of the cruelty of exploitative elephant attractions by sharing An Elephant Never Forgets with your family and friends.