Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Lawsuit alleges Six Flags fired employees concerned about animal care

Posted: 30 November 2015

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA has turned a blind eye to the abuse of elephants contracted for rides, which have been filmed by ADI being beaten and shocked with stun guns by their owners Have Trunk Will Travel.

Six Flags are at the receiving end of a lawsuit from Michael Muraco, former head of Animal Care, and his wife Holley Muraco, who conducted non invasive research on dolphins at Six Flags, recently filed a lawsuit against the theme park and zoo, alleging they were wrongfully terminated and even blamed for problems they were reporting internally. A USDA complaint corroborates the Muracos’ accounts about poor water quality being a factor in the death of two baby dolphins. The Muracos’ filed their complaint October 14, 2015 in the County of Solano Superior Court detailing other issues they claim Six Flags management resisted correcting including crumbling infrastructure that nearly resulted in an elephant escape, poor water quality, improper diets, overmedication, improper surgical procedures, abusive training techniques, insufficient salt in the tanks and other compliance issues endangering the health of the animals, employees and the public.

ADI has released video evidence showing the owners and trainers at Have Trunk Will Travel beating and shocking their elephants during routine husbandry and training ( The disturbing footage shows:

•Owners and trainers using stun guns and beating animals with bull hooks
•HTWT boss Kari Johnson viciously striking an elephant
•A baby elephant being hit over the head and dragged by the trunk
•Elephants chained by the legs barely able to take one step back and forward (the elephants were being chained from 6.30pm to 6.30am,12 hours a day)

HTWT has confirmed that the video depicts their staff and their elephants, and stated publicly that they stand by their training methods.

We Need Your Help
Despite ADI’s clear evidence of elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel being hit and shocked, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom continues to offer elephant rides from Have Trunk Will Travel elephants.
Contact Six Flags Discovery Kingdom today and ask them to stop the suffering and end these rides. Send polite emails to Don McCoy, Park President at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom at

Please keep your comments brief and polite. You can share your disappointment that Six Flags continue the elephant rides after having seen the clear evidence of the cruelty inflicted on these animals, in order to make them perform for rides.

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