Tourists in Thailand who have their hearts set on a photo op of their elephant joyrides may think twice if they knew about the highly disturbing baby elephant trade going on. With less demand for elephant-based entertainment, these beautiful and rare Asian elephants wouldn't have to endure an unnatural life of force and abuse.
While it's easy to think of traveling as a means to get your money's and time's worth once you get to your destination, arriving is just the beginning.
We (especially as Westerners!) have a huge responsibility to travel with a conscience no matter where we go--too much of the global tourism industry is based upon our interests to ignore this fact. And while we enjoy showing off our photographs atop an exotic jungle creature when we get home, generations of these animals will continue to suffer for our trifling moments.