by Cayce McCarthy. Arts and Entertainment blogger
Warning! Graphic Content. Viewer Discretion Advised!!!
Actress Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), produced documentary on Asian elephant abuse, Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story. Bell was inspired to create the documentary after being invited to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand, Bell saw the horrors of deforestation of the elephant’s environment were poachers have a strong reign, she learned there are less than 50,000 Asian elephants alive today, and she saw the beating these poor animals receive just to perform tricks.
The rest of the documentary follows Bell and Thai conservationist Sangdeaun Lek Chailert on a mission to rescue a 70-year-old nearly blind elephant. Together they try to adopt this animal from its cruel abusive company known as “elephant trek.” They succeed in the adoption and drive 500 miles back to the sanctuary. The journey was long and hard but seeing the complete transformation of this sweet animal was well worth it. But giving rides isn’t the only thing wrong with this picture.
Elephants have been beloved creatures throughout various cultures. In America we have them on baby clothes and nursery room walls, we have stuffed animals, movies about how cute they are, and tons of elephant accessories. In Asian cultures, the elephant is seen as a deity and even worshiped as such. It’s funny how humans express their love over all these things but in the same breath don’t care that real elephants are being hunted to near extinction for their ivory. Not only that but elephants face abuse and neglect in zoos, circuses, and shows worldwide. In fact, some people in Asian cultures and other places around the world find it ironic that the elephant is seen as a deity, but real ones are chained, beaten, starved, and separated from their families just so they can give rides and be in festivals/shows.
Let’s not forget the hypocrisy around how elephants are so endangered that we need to keep them alive but if a rich person wants to kill them for fun then it’s A-Okay. This is like the Jennifer Price satirical essay, "The Plastic Pink Flamingos, A Natural History". Price talks about how flamingos are a sign of wealth and how tourists love going to Florida to see them, but back in the 1800s Floridians practically hunted them to near extinction. Elephants are killed for their ivory for decorative objects but also because of the myths of them being healing objects when the same stuff in ivory is found in your fingernails. If you love the elephant so much then actually do something such as refusing to buy any ivory, protest, petition, donate, share videos online, anything to show you really do care.