Elephants are amazing animals with high intelligence, emotional complexity, and long life spans (if humans leave them alone). They form deep social bonds for life, have a sense of humor, express intense compassion for one another, and grieve for their dead. They were never meant to live in solitary confinement.
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Ernest never had the chance to experience the wild, and this is perhaps, his greatest tragedy. He had no choice. We must remember, that we do have a choice in whether or not we keep elephants, or any animal, captive.
We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
The only good cage is an empty cage.
-Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer