Winery Nixes Cruel Elephant Event After PETA Appeal

Trione Vineyards and Winery Quickly Cancels 'Have Trunk Will Travel' After Hearing That It Chains, Beats, and Electroshocks Elephants

For Immediate Release:
August 29, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Geyserville, Calif. – Just hours after learning from PETA that trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) were caught on camera shocking elephants with electric prods and beating them with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end), Trione Vineyards and Winery canceled its plans to host the cruel elephant act in October. In thanks, PETA is sending the winery a box of delicious vegan brownies.

“Elephant trainers force elephants to do tricks, pose for photos, and ‘play soccer’ by breaking their spirits through beatings and the constant threat of violence,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Trione Vineyards and Winery was quick to act and pull the plug on this exploitative exhibit that stops at nothing to make a buck off an elephant’s back.”

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—noted in its correspondence with Trione, HTWT’s owners, Kari and Gary Johnson, have repeatedly opposed legislation to protect elephants, including defending the use of electric prods and bullhooks. But their efforts failed in California, where a ban on using bullhooks goes into effect in 2018. HTWT has also admitted to chaining elephants in place by one front foot and one hind foot all night, every night. In addition, elephants exploited for entertainment pose a significant threat to public safety: Captive elephants in the U.S. have killed numerous humans and injured dozens more—causing broken bones and punctured lungs, among other serious injuries.

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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