Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI and ARAN criticise ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ film for using an abused circus elephant

Posted: 1 July 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) 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 is released across Ireland on July 4th.

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.

Despite legislative measures being taken by 27 countries around the world to prohibit such acts, and a growing number of local prohibitions in Ireland, the use of wild animals in circuses is still permitted nationwide.

In addition to the inherent welfare concerns, wild animal acts also pose a serious risk to public safety – in 2012 an elephant ran through a car park after escaping from the Courtney Brothers Circus in Cork; just days later, one of the circus’ trainers was crushed and hospitalised after attempting to break up a fight between two of the elephants.

ADI President, 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. Anyone who cares for animals should avoid ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man’ and other films that use live, performing animals instead of CGI.”

“The nasty little secret behind The Hundred-Year-Old Man will horrify those with the hardest of hearts as they head to the cinema this week and pay for their tickets to essentially see a beaten elephant perform in a completely unnatural surrounding, says ARAN’s John Carmody. “We’d urge people to skip this shameful movie and go elsewhere.”

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.


ADI report on elephant trainer incident

ADI statement on circus elephant escape, Ireland

ADI undercover footage of Vana Mana and other elephants abused at the Great British Circus

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

Expressen report on filming with Vana Mana (referred to as Ghandi in the article)

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

Lion Ark the movie

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.

ARAN are Ireland’s national animal rights group, who campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse, and work to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.

© Animal Defenders International 2019