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Tag Archives: elephant abuse
Fair Meeting March 22nd
Orange County Fair Board voted 6 to 1 to ban elephant rides at the fair – effective immediately!
Thank you Alison Stanley & all that spoke!
Fair and Tender Elephants
by Laura Stinchfield
Animal Trainer and Pet Psychic at thepetpsychic.com
On Thursday, March 22, there will be a meeting of the Orange County Fair board, which will talk about discontinuing the elephant rides provided by the company Have Trunk will Travel.
Have Trunk Will Travel owns the elephant that was in the movie Water for Elephants. This company has been in the news due to shocking video footage that appears to show gross, inhumane training methods. These methods include beating elephants with bullhooks and electrically shocking them to get them to obey commands.
I imagine that the argument for offering elephant rides at a county fair is because we humans enjoy this activity – we as individuals are in awe and in gratitude that such beautiful massive creatures allow us on their backs. As a child, I rode several elephants. I have felt their steady sway beneath my body, stroked my fingers over their sensitive toes, and entwined my arms with their hairy expressive trunks. I remember grasping onto my mother’s soft hands as we walked away and telling her, “The elephants are so sad. Did you see their eyes?” When I close my eyes today I can still see them – wrinkled and dull-looking, a bit like my old babysitter’s eyes after she had a heart attack and told us she couldn’t babysit us any longer.
Today we might argue that we allow this cruel pastime for the pleasure of the children. But if we ask children today to look into the eyes of these elephants and to tell us how they feel, the children will almost always respond with phrases like, “The elephant is sad,” “Is the elephant mad?” or “I am scared.”It does not matter to me how the company Have Trunks Will Travel responded to the allegations that they abuse their animals with harsh training methods. The fact is that the humane training of exotic animals is a very new field; shocking elephants in their genitals and beating them with bull hooks are the methods most experienced animal handlers are accustomed to using.
Almost all of Have Trunks Will Travel’s elephants are over 30 years old. That means that there is a high probability that these animals were trained inhumanely. When you train an animal with abuse, the animal does not have time to process new information; this leads to confusion in taking on new stimulation in the present and in the future. These animals can have post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The elephants’ greatest sense is their sense of smell. Imagine the stress of trying to decipher all the smells at a county fair. Perfumes, unnatural foods, the rides, gas and oil … Can we guarantee that a smell, sight, or sound at a county fair will not bring back an old memory that will elicit an elephant to react into fight or flight mode? Indeed, all you have to do is Google elephant attacks and you will see numerous elephants exploding at zoos, circuses, and fairs.
What if, after 30 years, one of the Have Trunks Will Travel elephants just can’t take it anymore? What if an elephant just snaps, and takes off with someone on his or her back? No company can guarantee the safety of onlookers.
Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth. They are designed to live their lives in the wildlands of Asia and Africa. Can we really convince ourselves that animals created to roam great distances rooting the earth and eating the bark off of trees – either as loners (the males) or involved in close and complex social interactions (the females) – enjoy carrying complete strangers around a crowded smelly fair?
Our common sense will tell us they do not. But most adults must have become so busy in their lives that they have lost their empathetic eye for sadness and anger in others. Or perhaps these same adults make fantasies in their heads that these elephants are happy – and that the younger generations also delight in this cruel, miserable pastime. This is not based on reality.
If you have any questions on this matter, take your children to see these animals live and up-close, and ask your children, “What do you think of the elephants?” Then listen and take to heart their answers.
I have been brought to streaming tears watching the two videos that American Defenders International (ADI) have released of the company Have Trunks Will Travel allegedly training and handling elephants inhumanely, although the company denies it. Have Trunks Will Travel supplied the elephant, Tai, for the movie Water for Elephants, which was, ironically, about the mistreatment of a circus elephant.
Here I talk to some anonymous Asian elephants that reside in the U.S. about how they are treated.
Elephant #1: “I have learned that people are different than elephants. Elephants care about each other. They care about their feelings and their state of health. People do not care about each other or other species. When they abuse us by poking us and hitting us we have damage to our bodies. We have ringing in our ears from the electricity. We have throbbing in our heads and sides from the deepness and intensity of the bull hooks. We have pain in our chest and genitals from the abuse. People are not kind. We are gentle to them because we know the pain they can inflict on us. Some say they love us but their love comes with pain. Elephants do not love the same.”
Elephant #2: “I have gone almost blind from all the shocking they have done to me. They have stuck electric prods up my ears and pounded me on my head. I cannot see well. They beat me when I miss a step. When visitors are close they stroke my trunk as if they love me. They are cruel. I only know sorrow. When I rest my head in one of the younger trainers’ hands she thinks I love her, but I am really praying she will help me and take the suffering away.”
Elephant #3: “I once knew a human that was filled with love and would never abuse an animal. There is something in a human’s eyes that go angry and cruel when an elephant does not understand. I know there are people speaking out for us. But where are they? Why are they not here?”
Elephant #4: “I have been sick inside for a long time. I have witnessed and endured so much. Just a few people have stroked me gently. I came into this world knowing that people do not understand animals. They abuse us in ways that give me nightmares. We are smart. I understand why elephants go angry and kill their trainers. I understand it because sometimes I have dreams of hurting them. But I am not brave enough to follow through. Where would I go?”
Elephant #5: “It is hard to find joy. They do not even allow us to hang out with each other. The oldest human teaches the other humans to be cruel. The humans may come in with love but the older one destroys it in them as he destroys any sense of comfort we may have.”
Elephant #6: “I hope that everyone who cares takes us away from our abusers and puts us at sanctuaries where we do not need to work or be forced to do tricks that hurt our bodies. I feel a mass amount of people who care. I know there is a better life. I can see it in their thoughts. Please help us. Please take us away. The abuse has not stopped. We are still suffering. It is worse than everyone thinks. Do you see happiness in our eyes? Elephants know how to express joy. We are unable to experience happiness here. Please help us.”
News Cast Of Have Trunks Will Travel Alleged Elephant Abuse: