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.
HTWT 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.