47 - The Truth About Elephant Exploitation with Ashley Bell
A lot of well-meaning people having riding an elephant as part of their bucket list.
One popular destination for this activity is Thailand, where tourists can spend their vacation watching elephant shows, getting up close to the animals, and riding on their backs.
What a lot of these tourists don’t know is the suffering these elephants endured to be used for their amusement.
Today’s guest is Ashley Bell, who has appeared in several films and television shows. She made her major feature film debut as Nell Sweetzer in The Last Exorcism, which garnered her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also gave a brilliant performance in Psychopaths and has been featured as a voice actress in several popular video games.
But in 2018, Ashley stepped behind the camera for Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story. She wrote and directed this groundbreaking documentary that follows her daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue a 70-year-old elephant from slavery.
Ashley sits down with Dotsie and Alexandra to discuss the disturbing reality behind elephant exploitation, the inspiration behind Love & Bananas, and how she combines her platform with her passion for animal activism.
What we discuss in this episode:
- What’s causing elephant populations to drop?
- Why African elephants are being poached, and how they’re evolving to save themselves
- The “crush box”: The disturbing method behind elephant training that you’ve never heard of
- The bill that is currently being pushed to free Billy and move him to a PAWS Wildlife Sanctuary
- How circuses like Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey are finally closed but have turned into supposed conservation centers
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