Interacting with elephants is a signature experience of visiting Asia. What most tourists don't realize, though, is that every single elephant who gives rides, paints pictures or performs in a show has been physically and emotionally abused in ways you can never unsee once you've been shown.

To get a sense of what that entails - grab tissues because you're going to learn about the crush box - watch Love and Bananas, a powerful documentary that should be required viewing. It follows the rescue of a 70-year-old, partially blind trekking elephant by Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, who was named Time magazine's Hero of Asia, and who founded Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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