They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I don't doubt it but what if those thousand words were lies? It is possible. Camera angle, composure and filters can turn a happy scene into tragic one. Video footage is no different, especially as it can be spliced and edited.
Words....yes words. In reference to the Ankus I call it an Ankus. I always have because that is what it is called. The animal rights call it a 'Bull Hook' because it makes it sound like a nasty weapon of torture.... which the Ankus most definitely is not when used correctly (read Elephant Care).
Now don't get me wrong here. I am against the abuse and cruelty of any animals and the recent Anne The Elephant business I found made me very angry. I am so glad that she was 'rescued'. I do not know Gary and Kari Johnson or anything about them really but they do ask a very valid question "If there was truly any abuse going on why wait six minutes, much less six years?"....and it is for that reason that Zoo News Digest is giving coverage to their statement which you can read below. I have watched the controversial video put out by Animal Defenders International and I admit that it is upsetting especially with the accompanying soundtrack. I will also admit that I do not like elephants being taught to do headstands, handstands, rearing stands, podium stands and similar. I am not a circus fan. I also don't like the way that the ankus is being used in several of the clips. So I am definitely not offering a defence here but... The video IS heavily edited leaving me sceptical of the whole thing and the question remains, why if this 'abuse' was known about was it not brought to the world's attention before?
Comments if you like below this Zoo News Digest blog post. Please note that anonymous posts will not be approved and will be deleted.
We are so disappointed that the wonderful opportunity presented by Tai's role in "Water for Elephants" to raise awareness and funds for elephant conservation and Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) is being exploited by animal rights extremist groups.
We are unwavering in our commitment to elephants. We stand by our care and training methods. We are proud of our contributions to elephant welfare and conservation.
Animal rights extremist groups are using Tai’s role in Water for Elephants as a vehicle to take advantage of her celebrity to further their efforts to remove elephants and all exotic animals from entertainment.
These groups have no basis of knowledge or experience working with elephants. They have an agenda and a history of using less than honest means to achieve their goals.
The video shows heavily edited and very short snippets, obviously taken surreptitiously six years ago, purporting mistreatment of our elephants.
If there was truly any abuse going on why wait six minutes, much less six years?
None of the footage being shown was taken during Tai’s training for Water for Elephants.
Tai’s celebrity and the popularity of the movie seem to be the motivation for the extremist groups to garner publicity for themselves and their cause.
As our work in the movie proves you can make something look like anything to suit your purposes. That is why they call it “movie magic”. Rest assured that we will continue to provide Tai and all of our elephants with the love and excellent care they deserve.
Gary and Kari Johnson
Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc.
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