Statement From PETA re Elephant ‘Slam Dunk’ Video

For Immediate Release:
September 5, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

A video is appearing online this week showing an elephant named Chuck, who is held at the African Lion Safari, standing on two legs and “slam dunking” a basketball with his trunk. Because this footage is misleading, PETA has released the following statement:

“Elephants don’t play basketball in nature, and the only reason they perform silly tricks such as this is because they know what awaits them if they don’t: Elephants are trained by being beaten with a metal-tipped bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “There is no other known way to make elephants perform stunts that they do not understand or like except by beating and intimidating them, which is one of the many reasons why PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment.'”

PETA’s blog post on this issue details African Lion Safari’s shameful record of elephant exploitation and deaths—including of two baby elephants who died at the facility, at least one from a stress-related herpes virus—and points out that the elephant handler in the video is clearly wielding a bullhook.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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