Why A Kim Kardashian Instagram Post Has Animal Lovers Outraged

What you see on TV often doesn’t jive with real life, even if you’re watching so-called reality television. Every single detail you see on the small screen is meticulously planned to convey exactly the right message. But sometimes, even the best-planned moments can go horribly awry.
When Kim Kardashian planned a televised family vacation, she surely only sought good press. But when the Kardashian-West family engaged in an activity that is known to be harmful, she faced so much backlash it threatened to ruin her career.
Everybody knows the Kardashians, whether they want to or not. The family became famous on their reality TV show and have taken over a huge chunk of modern media. But not without a scandal or two…
Kim is the Kardashian who seems to get caught up in the most drama. The most famous member of the Kardashians, she’s been criticized for everything from her choice in partner to her spending habits: but has she finally gone too far? 
In April of 2019, Kim and her family went on vacation to Bali. Along with her sisters, husband, and children, the TV personality tried to have a lavish but relaxing vacation. After sharing some images online, though, it quickly became a PR nightmare. 
See, one of the chief reasons people go to Bali is to commune with the wildlife. Kim planned to visit the island’s temples and indulge in some time at the beach, sure; but she wasn’t going to miss out on the animals, either. 
That’s what led her to seek out an elephant tour. She and her family visited Mason Adventures in the hopes of getting up close and personal with some of these gentle giants. 
And that’s exactly what happened! When Kim and her husband Kanye West arrived at the sanctuary with their kids, they snapped pics of themselves getting up close and personal with the elephants. They had no clue what they were getting themselves into…
The photos Kim shared revealed the elephants at this so-called sanctuary weren’t being treated very well. In one shot, a man actually sat on an elephant’s head to prod him with a stick! Kim didn’t seem to notice the less-than-kosher behavior.
For those who follow the Kardashian scandals, this may not come as a surprise. Kim’s entire family has been spotted wearing real fur coats, something that’s already got them on animal rights activists’ radars. 
To make matters worse, it seems the whole elephant tour was part of a publicity stunt, or for Keeping Up With The Kardashians. In the shots, Kim is even riding the elephant herself — and it’s not looking good for her.
In addition to using the live animal as a prop, she brought her kids along for the experience. As a result, thousands of Instagram and Twitter users claimed that she was setting a terrible example for her children.
Horrified responses included “Those elephants should be free and shouldn’t have to drive you and your family around!” and “Why am I not surprised that Kim K is riding elephants and further promoting animal exploitation tourism. ”
Of course, animal rights organization PETA had something to say about the photos as well: “All over the world, tourist traps offer the chance to climb up on an elephant’s back without divulging what these animals endure,” said Rachel Matthews, deputy director at PETA in the US.
Kim’s photos hit a real sore spot because they came just weeks after a baby elephant died in the zoo of Phuket, Thailand. The zoo was famous for being careless with its animals but was still visited by tourists who didn’t research it beforehand.
According to an animal activist group, the elephant had to perform “rave dances” and jump over people every day, which eventually led to serious damage to its legs. The activists were trying to free the elephant, but he didn’t live to see the results.
Sadly, this isn’t uncommon for elephants. For decades, they’ve been used in circuses, where they’re stabbed with hooks until they do all sorts of tricks. These elephants never live long. New trends with show elephants seem harmless — but they aren’t.
As of late, another trend has emerged: watching elephants paint. When a YouTube video of one elephant drawing himself went viral, people assumed he was just highly intelligent, but just like the circus acts, this trick does not happen without some grueling training.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Another popular activity is swimming with elephants, and while this may seem harmless, it still isn’t ideal. Swimming is supposed to be downtime for these animals; when people involve themselves, they never get a break.
Lastly, even just riding on elephants’ backs can do great harm to their health, especially when there are multiple people involved. Opt to ride in a car through an elephant sanctuary instead, or simply admire them from afar.
If you can’t resist a little ele-fun, there are plenty of sanctuaries that only allow gentle interactions with the animals, such as spraying them with water while they have plenty of space to roam. You’ll still get your photo op, but this time with a clear conscience!
If we all follow these guidelines on how to treat domesticated elephants, we can make a real change in their happiness and well-being. It also helps to go the extra mile, such as donating to their care or finding another way to make them happy.
For abused elephants in Thailand that once felled forests, a special kind of treatment was needed. They lacked instinctual training and survival techniques. How could they ever return to the wild under these conditions?
Luckily, Dr. Samart, a veterinarian, and his wife, Khun Fon, wanted to do something for these helpless creatures. They started Elephants World, which helped provide food and shelter to local elderly and injured elephants. Their motto was: “Where we work for the elephants and the elephants not for us.”
Elephants World
They began fundraising to help them continue their mission. Within no time, Elephants World began to spread online and interests from tourists began to peak. They became financially able to host more than 30 elephants and about 130 employees.
Elephants World
This was when Paul Barton walked into the picture. Paul was enamored by the piano after hearing an impromptu from the late composer Franz Schubert as a child. He was determined to learn to play.
Paul Barton / Facebook
At the age of 12, Paul taught himself to play the piano on other people’s instruments. He and his father played music in a small seaside town in northern England which led to Paul making music his life’s work. But the piano wasn’t his only passion. 
Paul loved to travel. In 1996, Paul planned a visit to Thailand where he taught piano for three months. There, Paul met Khwan, his future wife. He didn’t just fall in love with her, he fell in love with Thailand and the couple, along with new daughter Emelie, decided to make the nation their home. 
In 2011, while exploring the countryside of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, on the banks of the River Kwai, Paul discovered something that would ignite a new passion in his life. In fact, it was a passion he could easily pair with his love for music.
While doing research about the area and its wildlife he learned about Elephants World and how the sanctuary hosted old, injured, and handicapped elephants. Paul, an animal lover, was eager to go visit the sanctuary to see how he could get involved. 
Elephants World
But Paul didn’t go to the sanctuary alone, though; he brought an old friend with him: his piano. He had previously worked with blind children using music therapy and saw the impact it had made on them. He suspected it might just have the same impact on the elephants…
Surprisingly, elephants and humans share similar neurons in their brains. Both humans and elephants remember trauma, so if the piano could help his human clients cope with trauma, he thought the elephants traumatized from their time in the timber industry could benefit from his playing as well. But it wasn’t easy. 
Paul pushed his piano all the way up the mountain to get it to where the elephants were. When he reached the top, he set up his piano and began playing Beethoven. There were a few elephants around, but one quickly noticed Paul’s presence. 
A blind elephant named Plara was closest to the piano and was enjoying a grass breakfast when the music made him stop dead in his tracks. He picked his head up, grass still in his mouth, and walked toward the piano.
Paul recalled, “You are communicating with them in a different language. That language is neither our nor theirs. There is something infinitesimally wonderful in a piece of Beethoven that connects me to that elephant, and that feeling is otherworldly.”
It’s hard to tell who enjoyed the music more, Paul or the elephants. He decided to make his visits a regular thing. He stated, “Some elephants get very close to the piano of their own accord, they might drape their trunk over the piano even.” His bond with the elephants became so strong that it led to a major change in his life. 
You see, Paul visited so often that eventually he and his family moved to the sanctuary permanently so that he could always play music for the elephants. Sometimes even wild monkeys stop by his concerts for a listen. It sounds like music really does soothe the savage beast.

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