The shocking truth about elephant star
Tai, the 42-year-old Asian elephant who stars in the new movie “Water for Elephants” may not have been harmed in the making of that particular film — but he learned the tricks he does in it by being repeatedly shocked with electricity, an animal welfare organization says.
Animal Defenders International said a six-year-old video of Tai being trained has been posted on the Internet, shows trainers administering electric shocks as they teach him tricks.
“Water for Elephants,” a romantic drama set in a 1930s-era American circus, stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. It is premiering this month.
Tai, supplied by Have Trunk Will Travel of California, plays the role of Rosie, an elephant who is brutally attacked with a bull hook by by the circus owner.
The American Humane Association monitored production of the movie — and it, as well as the producers, stars, and trainers have said Tai was treated with nothing but kindness during the movie’s making.
A representative of the American Humane Association stated during the making of the movie, “all these animals have been treated fairly and humanely throughout the entire course of their training.”
Gary Johnson, a founder of Have Trunk Will Travel claimed: “Tai was never hit in any way at all,” according to ADI.
ADI, however, says video filmed at Have Trunk Will Travel in 2005 clearly shows Tai being shocked as part of his training.
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We were uncomfortable with the message of this film, but the more we saw the repeated assertions that this elephant has been treated with love and affection and never been abused, we realized that we had to get the truth out. The public, the stars and the filmmakers have been duped. This poor elephant was trained to do the very tricks you see in the film by being given electric shocks.”
ADI said it was sending copies of the video to the film’s stars and makers.
“I believe that Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson will be horrified to learn what Tai went through,” Creamer said.
ADI has also contacted American Humane Association, urging them to re-evaluate how they assess the use of animals in films. ADI is also calling for a boycott of the film.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adi, american humane association, animal defenders international, animals, circus, elephant, elephants, have trunk will travel, movie, no animals were injured, performing, reese witherspoon, robert pattinson, rosie, tai, treatment, video, water for elephants