06 July 2011

‘Water for Elephants’ animal trainers sued over cruelty allegations

Last week in the Los Angeles District Court, a suit was filed against Have Trunk Will Travel the company responsible for training Tai, the animal star of motion picture Water for Elephants. The company has alleged that the animals trained at their facility are treated with love and care. However, Animal Defenders International (ADI) along with concerned citizens Gail Profant and Leslie Hemstreet, is claiming that these statements are false and misleading to the public – and they have video evidence to back them up.

The video footage shows Tai and other elephants being shocked with an electric stun gun, and hit with bull hooks while she is being trained at the Perris, CA ranch of Have Trunk Will Travel. According to the Daily Mail, one of the company’s founders Kari Johnson, has stated that:

"Have Trunk Will Travel has never issued a written endorsement, nor does it condone using electrical devices to discipline and control elephants except in situations where elephant or human safety is at risk."

Jan Creamer, President of ADI disagrees however, and says, “We believe the public were duped when claims were made all over the world about the humane treatment during training of the elephant Tai that appeared in the film Water for Elephants. From the statements made by Have Trunk Will Travel in the build up to this film we believe that they perpetrated a fraud.”

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit: Screen capture ADI