Is it ever acceptable to ride an elephant?

Can elephant tourism be ethical?
No, according to the British Travel Association - here's everything you need to know Credit: getty

For many tourists – particularly those visiting south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia – the chance to interact with elephants is at the top of their holiday wish list, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to do so. But is it cruel to ride them?

Abta's guidelines

The practice of riding elephants has now been deemed unacceptable by British Travel Association (Abta) guidelines. The organisation, which represents most of Britain's travel companies, has announced in its new guidelines, due to be released in November 2019, that activities which include interacting with an elephant without a barrier will be deemed unacceptable.

In addition to riding them, this includes...

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