Animal Defenders International (ADI) has launched the first nationwide initiative in the United States about the use of elephants giving rides or making appearances at public events. At the heart of the campaign is a new DVD narrated by Emmy award winning TV host Bob Barker entitled ‘No Fun For Elephants,’ featuring harrowing undercover footage from inside elephant training facilities in California, as well as abuse of an elephant on tour by a Texas-owned company.
The move comes as Los Angeles City Council is considering a motion to prohibit performing elephants with traveling circuses in the city – the new video will be sent to all City Council members.
Bob Barker introduces the video, “To many, it looks like harmless fun, but elephants pay a heavy price for the few minutes of entertainment they provide when performing in circus shows, giving rides, or making appearances at parades, weddings or other events. Most of us marvel at the majesty of wild animals and I can understand why people want to see animals like elephants up close. But isn’t it especially tragic when animals are suffering and being abused simply to entertain us?”
The video includes ADI undercover footage showing elephants supplied for rides, appearances and other events by Have Trunk Will Travel of Perris, CA and Trunks & Humps of Conroe, TX, being beaten and electric shocked during training and handling, behind the scenes. The same trainers are then shown with the elephants, giving rides and appearing at parades.
In addition to the LA City Council, the ‘No Fun For Elephants’ DVD is being mailed to event organizers across the U.S., including board members of county fairs and renaissance fairs, urging them to adopt a humane ‘no elephant rides or performances’ policy, in view of the suffering these animals endure. ADI also highlights the risks to public safety by the way that just lightweight rope, tape or fencing is used to contain these large and stressed animals, while they are in public. The video is also available online http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3034&ssi=11.
Elephant rides have recently been abandoned by several events, after viewing ADI evidence, including Orange County and Los Angeles County Fairs, the city of Fountain Valley, CA, and Santa Ana Zoo. ADI is confident that if event organizers are given the facts and understand the cost to the animals, they will say “no” to the suffering.
Jan Creamer, ADI President: “We believe that once people see how these animals suffer behind the scenes, they will not endorse such cruelty. We realize an elephant walking around a small enclosure giving rides looks like a bit of harmless fun, but it takes a vicious training regime to get these wild animals to be so quiet and compliant in public. We know that event organizers will be shocked and will agree that these rides and appearances bring shame on their event.”
As Bob Barker concludes: “It really isn’t harmless fun, and it’s time it stopped.”
Footage, B Roll and Photos: available online; contact Regina Zernay and Lori De Waal.
Animal Defenders International http://www.ad-international.org
ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and is working in the USA, Europe, and South America. Using first-hand undercover evidence captured on video, ADI has secured legislation to prohibit the use of wild animals in traveling circuses all over the world. ADI also exposed the training of elephants for the movies ‘Water for Elephants’ and ‘Zookeeper,’ showing the animals being electric shocked and beaten.
U.S. County Fairs, Parades and other events:
The boards of county fairs and other events being written to by ADI include:
California: California Exposition and State Fair, Sacramento; San Diego Fair; Kern County Fair, Bakersfield; Northern California Renaissance Fair, Hollister; Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Irwindale.
Texas: State Fair of Texas, Dallas; Star of Texas Fair, Austin; Harris County Fair, Houston; The Scarborough Faire Texas, Waxahachie; Texas Renaissance Faire, Todd Mission.
Others: The Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival, Apache Junction, Arizona; Renaissance Festival Colorado, Larkspur, Colorado; Central States Fair, Rapid City, South Dakota.
Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc., Perris, CA http://www.havetrunkwilltravel.com
Trunks and Humps, Cut and Shoot, TX (409) 264-1170
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe to protect animals, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world and educates the public on animals and environmental issues.
Lori De Waal