We are telling tourists about the immense suffering hiding behind the welcoming face of many elephant attractions across South East Asia. We explain how baby elephants are captured from the wild and then forced to endure days of beatings to break their wild spirits. We let them know that the elephants used in attractions are often treated badly – they are frequently kept chained when not giving rides or performing tricks. Read more in our page on Horrors for Asian Elephants.

We are urging tourists to stay away from captive elephant attractions, and tour operators not to include such attractions in their itinerary except for genuine sanctuaries or viewing elephants in the wild.

Indian Government buildings, New Delhi


We are telling tourists and the people of India and South East Asia of the terrible plight of elephants kept in temples. Surrounded by crowds and noise, the animals are often rigidly chained by their legs to posts and forced to stand in the unrelenting heat for hours on end without adequate shade or water.

We aim to build alliances with the religious communities to press for the treatment of the animals to be radically improved and, in the medium term, for the use of elephants in temples and festivals to be brought to an end. Read more about the use elephants in festivals and temples here.

European Parliament, Strasbourg


We are asking UK and EU politicians to press the authorities in India and  other Asian countries to tackle urgently the problems facing wild and captive elephants. This is some of our recent work: 

  • In 2021 STAE was named amongst the 9 best charities in the world out of many thousands for helping elephants (Impactful Ninja, Nov 2021). STAE’s pioneering work with experts and campaigns to advocate for Asian elephants underrepresented in the global elephant wildlife conservation efforts was cited.
  • Throughout 2020 and 2021 extensive engagement with UK Government urging new law to ban promotion of brutal elephant venues.
  • In 2019 STAE’s online petition urging Britain, India and ABTA to end advertising of unethical resorts became the largest ever elephant related petition in history across the world.
  • In August 2018 STAE presented 3.1 million petition signatures to Prime Minister May demanding a new law to ban unethical related Asian elephant related advertisements.
  • In July 2018 independent polling by Populus showed 90% of the British public support STAE’s policies for Asian elephants.
  • In May 2018 The Sun published a major feature on our CEO Duncan McNair’s trip to India with actress Evanna Lynch reporting the plight of captive Asian elephants.
  • In November 2017 CEO Duncan McNair addressed a huge audience in Parliament Square and was part of a key group to deliver a letter for 220 charities and numerous MPs to the Prime Minister demanding abolition of the UK ivory trade.  This led to the Ivory Act 2018 and greater protection for African elephants.
  • In February 2016 STAE’s CEO Duncan McNair addressed a large audience at the European Parliament on STAE’s policies and proposals.
  • In September 2015 at the request of the Indian High Commission in London and by invitation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, STAE held an initial meeting with senior officials of the FCO and DEFRA to discuss the British government’s role in supporting proposals to protect the Asian elephant. These discussions are ongoing, as is STAE’s engagement with the UK tourist industry regarding advertising of holidays involving captive elephants.
  • In August 2015 STAE’s CEO Duncan McNair again visited India to:
    • develop links with organisations and individuals who share our desire to see substantial changes in the treatment of Indian elephants
    • deepen STAE’s understanding of the problems and potential solutions
    • meet several senior Cabinet ministers of the Indian Government to discuss STAE’s proposals for reform in the treatment of Asian elephants.

    As a result of this visit, on 16 and 23 August 2015 the Mail on Sunday published two major features on STAE’s work and the plight of Asian elephants:

    The online versions of these articles generated more reader views and more reader shares than any other piece in the history of the Mail group of newspapers.

  • In April 2015 the incoming (Labour) Mayor of London Borough of Ealing announced STAE as her choice of cause for her year in office 2015/2016. The Mayor of Ealing and STAE are jointly sponsoring an art and literature competition across all Ealing primary schools, to raise awareness of the issues facing Asian Elephants.
  • In April 2015 the UK Conservative Party’s Election Manifesto has pledged to support the Indian government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephant.  STAE will continue its high level talks with leading Conservatives, as with other political parties. The Liberal Democrat Party, the Green Party and several other political parties have also offered their full support to STAE.
  • In March 2015 STAE’s CEO Duncan McNair addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare in Parliament. This comprised a large audience of government and shadow ministers, politicians and interested parties. Most UK political parties have since united in writing to the Indian High Commissioner urging him to collaborate with STAE.
  • STAE’s work has featured in the The Hindu, one of India’s largest circulation newspapers.
  • A Written Declaration on the Conservation and Welfare of Asian Elephants (No.62/2015) has now been presented to the European Parliament, after meetings of members of STAE with leading Members of the European Parliament. Many MEPs from different political parties and countries added their names to this Written Declaration.
  • STAE has been asked by the Indian High Commissioner to set terms for collaboration between the Indian and UK governments on issues affecting Asian elephants.
  • STAE has written to the Prime Minister of India and to the Indian High Commissioner in the UK pressing them to end the cruel abuse suffered by India’s elephants and take urgent steps to ensure the survival of this species.  Our letter to the Prime Minister was signed by numerous high profile animal experts, politicians, artists, academics, lawyers and royalty.
  • Since the opening of the new session of Parliament on 27 May 2015, with the support of other MPs STAE’s Virendra Sharma has tabled a new Parliamentary Motion (EDM 45 of 2015) urging the UK Government to act on its election pledge to take steps to help protect Asian elephants. This second Parliamentary Motion too has immediately attracted great support from all parties across the House of Commons, with more than 80 signatures already. Please encourage your MP to sign this EDM: MPs sign the EDM here.
  • In the 2014-2015 parliamentary session, 110 UK MPs signed Parliamentary Early Day Motion 436, tabled by Virendra Sharma MP who is a member of STAE’s Executive Board.  The Motion urges the Indian and South-East Asian governments to end the ill-treatment of elephants.

STAE will keep you informed of developments with all the above initiatives.

Houses of Parliament, London

If you would like to know more about STAE’s work or to meet with us please Contact Us.


A guide to the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act 2023.