Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

VICTORY! ADI Applauds Santa Ana for Ending Elephant Rides After Investigating Abuse Video

Posted: 17 December 2011. Updated: 17 December 2011


LOS ANGELES, December 16, 2011 - Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds the City of Santa Ana’s announcement that they will be ending elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo and their twenty five-year-run contracting with an entertainment company, Have Trunk Will Travel.

“Animal Defenders International applauds the City of Santa Ana’s decision to protect elephants and their patrons by discontinuing the elephant rides at the zoo. The abuse required to control and train these wild animals—shocking, hitting and ‘hooking’ with bullhooks as witnessed in ADI’s undercover investigation—simply can’t be justified or supported,” said Matt Rossell, ADI’s Campaigns Director. “Santa Ana is setting an example that circus-style animal management using fear, pain and punishment to dominate wild animals, has no place in twenty first century zoos and fairs.”

The City’s decision, according to their news release, is based on a recent safety policy change by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that prohibits elephant handlers at accredited zoos from sharing the same space as elephants with only narrow exceptions.

However, this decision also follows ADI’s release last May of shocking undercover video showing elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel being given electric shocks and beaten with bullhooks during training sessions and routine husbandry at their Perris, CA compound. News about the abuse of one of HTWT’s elephants, Tai, the 45-year old female Asian elephant star of the film ‘Water for Elephants’ created a firestorm of controversy about the use of animals in entertainment when the video was released as the movie was arriving in international theaters. ADI cooperated with the City of Santa Ana’s summer-long investigation into the videotaped abuses, providing empirical evidence with experts’ interpretation, the findings of which were recently presented to the Santa Ana City Manager.

Animal Defenders International’s undercover video taken in 2005 can be viewed here.

More video evidence of movie elephant suffering... from Animal Defenders on Vimeo.

Dr. Mel Richardson, a captive wildlife veterinarian who reviewed the undercover video commented:
“As a veterinarian with 40 years of expertise caring for elephants and other captive wildlife, I can assure you these videos depict animal cruelty and unnecessary suffering. These people are tormenting their elephants. The aggressiveness and vengeance with which the handlers beat and punish the elephants is unconscionable.”

”The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), with this new policy, has finally ceased to condone circus-style training and management of wild animals, which for decades has been based on violence and domination,” according to Rossell. “To further these changes on a national level, US Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) and Animal Defenders International recently introduced HR 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which aims to permanently ban wild animals from traveling circuses.”

ADI just made history with the unveiling of the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 3359, the first-ever federal bid which aims to protect all wild and exotic animals forced to travel and perform in US circuses. Bob Barker and Jorja Fox joined Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at a Nov. 2nd Capitol Hill news conference to introduce the ground breaking legislation along with lead sponsor Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). The bill has bipartisan support, carried by Congressman Moran ranking Republican Congressman Bill Young (R-FL) and a total of 10 original sponsors.

The bill will effectively end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in the United States, and is due to be discussed in the Agriculture Committee.

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Note to Editors: Video footage, visuals and interview opportunities are available upon request.

For further information please contact:
Matt Rossell
Campaigns Director
Media phone: 323-804-9920
Office phone: 323-935-2234

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, 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 the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.


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