The Travel Corporation’s TreadRight Foundation has launched its latest video, highlighting the abuse of elephants that are ridden by tourists.

The sustainability charity is supporting the work of Wildlife SOS in India, as both organisations want an end to the exploitation of elephants.

Hosted by TreadRight ambassador Céline Cousteau, the video aims to bring more attention to Wildlife SOS’s #RefuseToRide campaign.

The TreadRight Foundation said most travellers are unaware that elephants are poached from the wild as babies, “then beaten until they’re so terrified of people they’ll do anything”.

“This cruel practice is called phajaan, or ‘breaking of the spirit’,” said TreadRight in a statement.

“After the elephants are deemed ‘tame’ enough to do what people tell them, these elephants can look forward to decades of difficult, tedious labour with little to no access to good food, fresh water, quality veterinary care, or even the company of other elephants. Wildlife SOS is working to put an end to this abusive industry.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and chief executive of Wildlife SOS, said: “It might be your dream to ride elephants, but this is an elephant’s worst nightmare.

“Riding an elephant may seem innocuous considering the large size of the animal, but the reality is quite different, and extremely shocking.

“These elephants are beaten mercilessly to make them ‘ride-able’ and ‘photo-friendly’.

“If tourists stop riding elephants, elephant abuse and exploitation will automatically end.”

Shannon Guihan, programme director at the TreadRight Foundation, added: “Responsible travellers will look more closely and begin to understand the decades of pain, suffering, and cruelty that goes into producing that one-off tourist experience and recognise the need to refuse to ride. We’re honoured to help Wildlife SOS spread this message.”

To view the video, click here.

Travel agents can find out more from TreadRight about elephant-friendly experiences here.