Broadway Brilliance: PETA Honors ‘Water for Elephants’ With Prestigious Award

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2 min read

Broadway’s newest sensation, Water for Elephants, takes center stage not only for its wonderful performances but also for its exceptional portrayals of animals through the use of lifelike puppets and captivating special effects. As the curtains rise on this innovative musical, PETA is proud to present its prestigious Pony Award—the organization’s play on the Tony Awards—honoring the most animal-friendly theater productions.

PETA Pony Award certificate for Water for Elephants

Featuring Rosie the elephant, a dog, a camel, a peacock, llamas, and big cats, the show comes alive with stunning visuals that captivate audiences without exploiting a single live animal. The production also incorporates powerful messaging about how animals suffer in circuses—including a showman’s admission that “Humane doesn’t sell seats!”—and showcases dazzling human performances, such as acrobatics, aerial dancing, and ropedancing.

“The Water for Elephants production team’s vision and artistry take center stage with beautiful animal renderings that spare vulnerable sentient beings exploitation. PETA encourages everyone in the entertainment industry to follow its example by bringing animals to the stage and screen through creativity, not cruelty.”
—PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange

Animals used in the entertainment industry are taken from their mothers as babies and beaten in order to force them to learn to obey out of fear of punishment. The 2011 film version of Water for Elephants featured an elephant named Tai, who, as this video shows, was beaten and electroshocked after being abducted from her home in nature and sold to notorious Hollywood exhibitors Kari and Gary Johnson. Handlers typically use bullhooks—heavy fireplace poker–like weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end—to “break,” beat, and terrorize elephants, prompting the musical’s protagonist to proclaim that they should be illegal.

As the curtain rises on Water for Elephants, let’s applaud not only its artistic brilliance but also its commitment to compassion. In a world in which entertainment often comes at the expense of animals, Water for Elephants stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through creativity, empathy, and innovation.

See Something? Say Something

If you witness animal abuse or neglect during the making of a film, a television show, or a Broadway production or at an animal-training facility, please contact us right away here.

Note: “Tony” and “Tony Awards” are registered trademarks of American Theatre Wing Inc., which is not affiliated or associated with PETA, nor does it endorse, sponsor, or otherwise approve of PETA or PETA’s Pony Awards.

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