Written by Jeff Mackey
PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have submitted
comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) urging the agency not to
issue an Endangered Species Act breeding permit to California-based Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT)—Hollywood's
number one provider of elephants for movies and TV—citing the exhibitor's sordid history of animal abuse.
PETA will also be asking that criminal charges be considered
against HTWT co-owner Kari Johnson for possible perjury. In her 2009 federal
court testimony, Johnson testified that she had never seen anybody in her life
strike an elephant with a bullhook. Yet video footage captured during an Animal
Defenders International investigation predating her testimony shows Johnson
herself, along with her co-owner and other HTWT trainers, forcefully using electric
prods (which are illegal in California) and bullhooks to hit and intimidate elephants repeatedly during training sessions.
claims that it seeks the permit to breed baby elephants in order to somehow
help the species, but the company is really just helping itself. It sells these
animals to zoos and other facilities at a significant profit or cruelly
exploits them for use in circuses, movies, and the like. None will ever be
released into the wild—and of the four babies already bred by HTWT, three died
before their fourth birthdays.
HTWT also routinely chains elephants for prolonged periods, which
can cause severe foot and musculoskeletal problems.
No one could possibly be trusted less
to have elephants' best interests at heart. And since the Endangered Species
Act prohibits harming, harassing, or wounding endangered Asian elephants, the FWS
must see that HTWT does not even remotely qualify for the permit it seeks.
How You Can Help
Elephants belong in forests or savannahs, not showbiz.
Please choose only animal-friendly
entertainment for your family.
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.
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.
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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.