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The tragic truth behind all of those people posing with wild animals for Instagram pics

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For people who travel to central Africa, Thailand or other vacation spots, animal attractions are huge. Selling elephant rides, tiger selfies or making wild animals perform for the tourists is simply part of the economy. But a National Geographic report is revealing just how horrific the lives of those animals are.

“Meena is one of 10 show elephants,” wrote Kirsten Luce. “To be precise, she’s a painter. Twice a day, in front of throngs of chattering tourists, [a staffer] puts a paintbrush in the tip of her trunk and presses a steel nail to her face to direct her brushstrokes as she drags primary colours across paper. Often he guides her to paint a wild elephant in the savanna. Her paintings are then sold to tourists.”

When Meena is older and incapable of performing anymore, she’ll carry tourists on her back. Then she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a year or so in retirement. Her entire life will be spent chained up in a small cell like a prisoner. When she first came to the company, she tried to run away. But her handlers said she’d been more well-behaved since they started using spiked chains.

European tourist with Asian elephant in Thailand. Elephants training camp and show in Chiang Mai, Thailand. – Image (Photo: Ben Heine/Shutterstock)

The report featured a series of photos of tourists sitting behind a tiger laying on the ground. Around its neck is a collar attached to a chain. That chain is so short that the tiger can’t stand up. Sometimes they’re drugged. Some of the parks clip the tips of the paws of the tigers to ensure it doesn’t grow claws and harm tourists desperate for the perfect vay-kay shot for Instagram.

The same is true for dolphins in Brazil, where tourists surround the poor porpoise dangling a fish.

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Twice as many trips are taken today than 15 years ago specifically for animal tourism. “Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals,” Luce wrote.

From polar bears to whales to wolves and every animal in between, animal tourism exists all for the precious photo people can post on social media to make their lives look more important than they really are. Meanwhile, the animals they smile with are being stabbed with nails, chained to the floor, tranquilized or worse.

Read the full report at the National Geographic.

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Right now Donald Trump thinks he’s winning — and he might not be wrong

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Donald Trump thinks he's winning.

For months, Americans have grown accustomed to Trump in his cornered-rat mode, lashing out defensively and ruminating obsessively over the possibility of impeachment. But his tweets this week have been surprisingly cheerful, suffused with the buoyant spirits of a teenage bully who has successfully swirlied a nerd.

First, like an overexcited child on Christmas Eve who unwraps his presents too soon, Trump — overcome with the pleasures of racist sadism — tweeted on Monday night that "ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens."

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Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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Rick Wilson hilariously ridicules the ‘formal flip-flops’ and ‘dress cargo pants’ worn by Florida Trump supporters

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Republican strategist Rick Wilson mocked the attire of the Donald Trump supporters who were bused in from around Florida for his official campaign kickoff in Orlando.

Wilson, a Florida man himself, joined MSNBC's Brian Williams for post-rally analysis on "The 11th Hour."

Williams played a clip of a Trump supporter with sleeveless Trump T-shirt identifying her as a "proud member of the basket of deplorables" explaining why she'll vote to re-elect the president in 2020.

"The main reason? Because he’s one of the best presidents we’ve had for a very long time," the woman argued. "Very long time."

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