Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Elephants at Fair Electric Shocked and Beaten

Posted: 13 August 2012. Updated: 13 August 2012

Sioux Falls, SD, August 13, 2012—Animal Defenders International (ADI)is calling on Sioux Empire Fair officials to shun abusive elephant ride provider from next year’s attractions. ADI sent a letter to Fair Manager Scott Wick with graphic video footage of these movie star elephants, including Rosie and Dixie who appeared at the fair, being beaten and electric shocked during routine husbandry and training at their Perris, California compound in 2005. ADI is urging Wick to exclude elephant rides from future fairs for the protection of the elephants and the public.

The company, Have Trunk Will Travel, which owns Rosie, Dixie and other elephants, provides them for the entertainment industry including rides, circuses, and appearances in movies like “Water for Elephants” and “Zookeeper.” Gary Johnson and David Smith, the owner and trainer reported to be providing elephant rides on Rosie and Dixie at the Sioux Empire Fair, also appear in the shocking video where:

  • Elephants are repeatedly given electric shocks with hand held shocking devices
  • An elephant cries out when being shocked into performing a headstand
  • Elephants are viciously beaten about the body and legs with bull hooks
  • A baby elephant is hooked in the lip and cries out

Click here to see the video evidence of movie elephant suffering. (Broadcast quality resolution footage available upon request.)

Click here for the undercover investigation summary that details the routine abuses of these elephants.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International said, “Sioux Empire Fairgoers would not have lined up to ride these abused elephants if they had known Rosie and Dixie were beaten with bullhooks and shocked with electric shocking devices. People need to think very carefully before they go to films or other entertainment like circuses with performing animals, especially wild animals like elephants. If you oppose cruelty, the best thing to do is vote with your wallet – don’t go.”

Following the release of this video evidence, multiple county fairs and cities have dropped this Southern California elephant purveyor including Los Angeles and Orange County Fairs, and the cities of Santa Ana, Fountain Valley and Sierra Madre.

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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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