Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ criticised for using abused circus elephant

Posted: 19 April 2014

ADI and Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit criticise ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ film for using an abused circus elephant

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit have condemned ‘The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared’ for its use of an abused circus elephant. The film is directed by Felix Herngren and premieres tomorrow, April 20, and opens in cinemas across The Netherlands on May 1.

The elephant used in ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ Vana Mana (also known as Wana Mana) previously featured in a shocking undercover exposé by ADI at the Great British Circus in the UK. Vana Mana and her companions Sonja and Delhi were beaten by both her trainer and groom and chained for long periods.

ADI’s horrifying footage prompted an outcry and the elephants and their trainer left the UK after just one season. Delhi, who was chronically lame, has since died. Vana Mana and Sonja remain with their abusive trainer, Lars Hölscher, touring with circuses across Europe. Their trainer now uses different names for himself and the elephants.

In Sweden last year, Vana Mana and Sonja – now known as Ghandi and Baby – were forced to perform by their trainer at Cirkus Skott. After their identity was discovered, Cirkus Scott announced that it would stop using wild animals.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, “The Hundred-Year-Old Man bills itself as a comedy, but there is nothing funny about the shocking abuse of the poor elephant who features in it. Experts agree that the use of wild animals in the entertainment industry causes suffering, which the Dutch Government has acknowledged by proposing a ban on their use in circuses. Anyone who cares for animals should avoid ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ and other films that use live, performing animals instead of CGI.”

Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit director Leonie Vestering: “Movie makers should know better than using terribly abused wild animals for their stories. We urge everyone not to buy tickets for The Hundred-Year-Old Man. There are beautiful alternatives without animal suffering.”

The abuse of animals for the entertainment industry is becoming more widely known and rejected by the public and the film industry. Directors Rupert Wyatt (Rise of The Planet of The Apes) and Darren Aronofsky (Noah) have chosen to use CGI for their extensive animal scenes.

The film industry itself is increasingly turning the spotlight on the use of animals in entertainment – Seaworld is facing severe criticism for keeping captive orca following the release of Blackfish and ADI’s inspiring rescue of 25 lions from illegal Bolivian circuses is charted in uplifting action-documentary Lion Ark.

In 2012, the Dutch Government announced plans to ban the use of wild animals in circuses following many years of lobbying by Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit.


ADI report on the investigation of the use of elephants at the Great British Circus in 2009

{link;}Expressen report on filming with Vana Mana (referred to as Ghandi in the article){/link}

Dutch Government proposes circus ban

SvD report on elephants abused at the Great British Circus performing at Cirkus Skott

Former Great British Circus elephants escape trainer in Copenhagen, 2012

Lion Ark:


Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit: Leonie Vestering +31 (0)6-22640587
ADI: Fleur Dawes +44 (0)207-630-3344 or +44 (0)778-555-2548

Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles 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.

Vereniging Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit
Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit is een vereniging van nationale en internationale dierenwelzijnsorganisaties tegen het gebruik van wilde dieren in circussen. Stichting AAP, WSPA, Stichting Vier Voeters, Stichting DierenLot, Stichting Menodi en lokale afdelingen van de Dierenbescherming maken deel uit van deze dierenbeschermingsvereniging (Noord-Holland-Noord, Groningen, Amsterdam en Den Haag).

© Animal Defenders International 2019