PETA, ALDF Face Off Against Hollywood’s Abusive Go-To Elephant Provider

Groups Challenge Have Trunk Will Travel’s Bid for Permit to Breed Elephants Into Violent and Law-Violating Business

For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hollywood, Calif. — Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), a Hollywood provider of elephants for television and movies, has a long and well-documented history of violating the law—as shown in Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) video footage of HTWT owners Gary and Kari Johnson and other trainers beating endangered Asian elephants, including a baby, with bullhooks and shocking them with electric prods, two devices whose use is prohibited by California state law. That’s why PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) have submitted formal comments to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) opposing the Endangered Species Act Captive-Bred Wildlife Permit application recently filed by the elephant provider. The groups point out that three of the four elephants bred by HTWT died before their fourth birthdays.

“Have Trunk Will Travel is trying to fool federal authorities into letting them breed baby elephants, hire them out for use in TV and movies, and then sell them to zoos and circuses, which are not activities allowed under the Endangered Species Act,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Claims that this abusive outfit makes of ‘helping the species’ do not hold water.”

“The Endangered Species Act was designed to protect elephants from exactly the kind of abuse that occurs routinely at Have Trunk Will Travel,” says ALDF Executive Director Steve Wells. “PETA and ALDF urge the Fish & Wildlife Service to ensure that this company is not able to breed any more endangered elephants into a life of bullhooks, electric prods, and chains.”

PETA will also be asking for criminal charges to be filed against Kari Johnson for her alleged perjury in federal court in 2009, which PETA discovered while preparing its official comments. In her testimony, Johnson swore under oath that she had never seen anybody in her life strike an elephant with a bullhook—even though she herself hits elephants with a bullhook in ADI’s video, which was recorded prior to 2009.

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