Written by Jeff Mackey
Records just released to PETA by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) show that notorious elephant exhibitor Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) was cited by the agency in late August 2012 for violating the Animal
Welfare Act (AWA), following a complaint submitted by PETA.
Pachyderms—and the Public
According to its newly released inspection report, the USDA cited HTWT for failing to comply
with the AWA requirement that a knowledgeable and experienced handler have
direct control and supervision of elephants during public exhibition.
Not only do elephant rides endanger humans and elephants,
they're also cruel. After Animal Defenders International released video footage showing that adult and baby elephants cried out in pain as HTWT trainers
repeatedly struck them with sharp metal-tipped bullhooks and shocked them with electric prods in 2011, numerous venues severed all ties
with the company. It's simply unconscionable for fairs and other attractions to
keep hosting HTWT given its history of abuse and endangerment.
What You Can Do
Please join PETA in urging the San Diego County Fair to
join the ranks of the Orange
County Fair, the Santa
Ana Zoo, and the L.A. County Fair and stop hosting HTWT or any other providers of elephant rides.
Written by Jennifer OConnor
Great news: After
more than a year of pressure from PETA, the Animal Protection and Rescue League,
Animal Defenders International (ADI), and celebrities—including Charo and Switched at Birth
star Constance Marie—the Santa Ana Zoo in California has announced
that it will discontinue cruel and dangerous elephant rides.
This is a big deal
for the elephants, who are dominated and controlled
by bullhooks—barbaric training devices that resemble a fireplace poker—as can be
seen in video
footage from ADI that shows that trainers
from Have Trunk Will Travel, the company that provided elephant rides for the
zoo, beat and shocked elephants into submission. When not working, the
elephants spend much of their time chained by two legs, barely able to take a
step forward or backward.
Elephants are highly
intelligent, social, and curious animals who deserve better than being forced
to plod along in circles all day while being prodded by a bullhook for people's
amusement. Elephants who are subjected to the constant threat of physical
punishment—like those who provided rides at the zoo—are also more prone to
dangerous and unpredictable behavior and present an unnecessary safety risk to
Please click here to send a thank-you note to Santa
Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and click here
to thank Gerardo Mouet, the executive director of the city's Parks, Recreation
and Community Services Agency, for making the compassionate decision to end the
elephant rides. Be sure to add a P.S. to Mr. Mouet to ask him to make the same
decision for the Orange County Fair since Have Trunk Will Travel provides the rides
there, too, and Mouet is on the fair's board.
Written by PETA
In light of the new policy issued by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that will minimize contact with
elephants as well as the use of bullhooks in AZA-accredited zoos, PETA is
renewing our call to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make
protected contact a requirement for circuses, traveling shows, and non-AZA
With protected contact, there is always a
barrier between handlers and elephants, which is not only more humane but also
much safer for both species. Bullhooks—heavy
batons with a sharp metal hook on the
end—are never used to beat elephants into compliance.
OSHA—whose mandate is
to protect workers—has acknowledged that "the issue of workers exposed to large animals
[is] a serious occupational health and safety concern," but the agency
nevertheless rejected PETA's previous call to require that captive elephants be
managed in the protected-contact system.
Even if OSHA doesn't act, the AZA's policy
an end to dangerous practices like the elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo, which are provided by an outfit called "Have Trunk Will Travel"
that has been caught on video beating
elephants with bullhooks. But the policy doesn't fully go into effect until
2014, and elephants can't wait. Please urge Santa Ana Zoo officials
to stop the cruel and dangerous rides without delay.
by Jennifer O'Connor
Actor and mom Constance Marie has fired off a letter to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido to ask that he put an end to the elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo. Constance, who stars in ABC Family's new show Switched at Birth, was sickened after watching video footage of trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel—who provide the elephants for the rides—as they beat elephants with bullhooks and shocked them with electric prods.
Says Constance, "Every swing of the trainers' bullhooks and jab of the electric prods horrified me, and seeing a baby elephant scream in pain each time a sharp bullhook is jabbed into his mouth was simply heartbreaking."
Please add your voice to Constance Marie's by asking the mayor of Santa Ana to stop the rides once and for all.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Video footage just released by Animal Defenders International shows trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel—the company that provides elephants for rides at the Santa Ana Zoo—as they strike elephants with sharp metal-tipped bullhooks and shock them with electric prods. PETA has filed multiple complaints against this exhibitor, and we've repeatedly urged Santa Ana officials to end the rides. But so far, the zoo has refused.
The owners of Have Trunk Will Travel—which rents out elephants for movies and commercials and uses elephants in any other way that can make a buck—have defended using bullhooks, which can leave painful welts, abscesses, and puncture wounds, and have indicated that electric prods are a useful training "tool." Elephants who would never do headstands or balance on pedestals—if given a choice—quickly learn to obey or suffer the painful consequences.
Please tell Santa Ana officials to stop supporting abuse like that seen on the video by discontinuing dangerous and cruel elephant rides.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.