Local Teens Nab Award for Pro-Elephant Podcast

PETA Recognizes Four High Schoolers Who Won NPR Student Podcast Challenge

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2019

Contact:
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Elizabethton, Tenn. – For shining a spotlight on the plight of elephants used for entertainment, PETA is sending a Hero to Animals Award to high school juniors Caleb Miller, Jaxton Holly, John Gouge, and Deanna Hull, whose podcast, Murderous Mary and the Rise of Erwin, won the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. It tells the story of an elephant named Mary who was hanged by townspeople in 1916 after she killed a circus trainer—and it focuses on the town’s current efforts to help elephants through initiatives such as its collaboration with The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

“The work of today’s residents in behalf of elephants is inspiring and honors Mary’s memory,” says PETA Senior Director Marta Holmberg. “PETA is thrilled to recognize these compassionate students for bringing Mary’s story and the suffering of elephants used by animal-exploiting operations out of the shadows.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that elephants and other exotic animals are still being used in circuses today, more than a century after Mary was hanged. These sensitive, intelligent, complex animals are typically separated from their mothers in infancy and gouged with bullhooks (weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a metal hook on one end) to teach them to obey out of fear and to force them to perform tricks for crowds and give rides.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind