The following message was sent to the producers of Water for Elephants to condemn the violence inflicted on Tai, the elephant, during the making of this film.
18 May 2011
To the Producers of 'Water for Elephants';
This is to inform you that I will not see Water for Elephants, as it tortures elephants to capitalize on incidents of elephant torture. If this irony evades you, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that Tai, the elephant featured in this movie was viciously beaten with a bull hook and prodded with electric shock to insure she would perform according to the dictates of her sadistic trainers.
As those making this film, most likely adhere to the biblical mandate which grants man dominion over the animals, the suffering of Tai, means little compared to the profit obtained from an audience who would not tolerate the kind of violence inflicted on her to make this film. It is therefore the goal of those who defend animals to make sure that the truth of Tai's suffering be revealed to the public, so that they will not help you to profit from such cruelty. The British press has documented the suffering of Tai. This information will be passed on to the American press.
I have enclosed information on the treatment of elephants in two
cultures: the dominion based culture of the judeo.christian tradition and
the more compassionate model of India, called ahimsa and practiced by the
Jain religion, which grants all beings: human and animal the same right to
protection from harm. As you will see, the outcome for animals differs
markedly with these two models of compassion.
"For there is nothing inaccessible for death.
Elephants: The Good News and the Bad
A recent incident of brutality towards elephants reveals vicious beatings of Tai to make the movie Water for Elephants: According to an article in the Daily Mail Reporter Tai was Given electric shocks and beaten with hooks during the making of this film. In secret footage, released by charity Animal Defenders International (ADI), Tai is seen being given electric shocks with hand held stun guns and being beaten: Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384426/Water-Elephants-star-electrocuted-beaten-hooks-Shocking-new-video-shows-mistreatment.html#ixzz1MMJ7nAMq
Good News for Elephants from India:
This means that every elephant in every state of India has been liberated from incarceration in circuses and zoos:
Another provision to protect elephants grants them the status of a 'national heritage animal'. This provides a high level of awareness to insure their safety: "Indian authorities have now decided to declare the elephant its "national heritage animal" and to afford it the same level of protection as bestowed upon the mighty tiger. "We need to give the same degree of importance to the elephant as is given to the tiger in order to protect the big animal," said the Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh." Independent, UK see: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/indias-elephants-finally-given-same-protection-as-tigers-2068106.html
Yet another measure to protects elephants, this one, from illness, was
enacted in Tamil Nadu. Though the measure will result in less income for
human beneficiaries, the health of the elephants was valued above the right
of those who would exploit them: "Forest officials in the southern Indian
state of Tamil Nadu have asked temple custodians to stop their elephants
from blessing Hindu pilgrims. Their concern is that the practice could be
damaging the more than 50 elephants kept in Hindu temples. The elephants are
routinely forced to touch the heads of pilgrims with their trunks as a form
of blessing. But officials say the practice could be putting the animals at
risk of tuberculosis." BBC News:
mahoots: a tradition of cooperation:
"Elephants have been domesticated in the N.E. India since time immemorial and both the elephant and the mahout have become a part of the folklore and the folksongs. Stories of brave and expert phandis (noosers) and mahouts are passed on from generation to generation. In the rural Assam mahouts are looked upon with awe and admiration. Once a captive elephant is weaned at the about the age of three, it begins life as a domesticated elephant under the care of its keeper or mahout. Other than its mother, the mahout is the next most important influence in the elephant's life. A mahout traditionally is a highly experienced and knowledgeable individual with excellent elephant rearing skills. A mahout must have an intimate understanding of his particular elephant and develop a bond of trust and affection that allows him to control the animal with simple verbal commands and touch. A family that has kept elephants for generations passes the critical knowledge and skills needed from one generation to the next. An elephants is treated as part of the family. Just as children are born into a family, so too are elephants. A young boy will grow up with a baby elephant and together they will develop a lifetime bond based on trust and affection. Elephants are very loyal to their mahouts and they are often associated with supernatural powers because they control such a big animal. Ideally, this relationship will not end until either the elephant is sold or the mahout dies. Many mahouts will spend up to 26 days out of the month with their elephant and the remainder with his family." (see: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/indian_elephant.htm )
a mahoot bathing his elephant
In India's north-eastern state of Assam, groups of tame elephants,
called kunkis, are being used to control the excesses of their wild cousins
villagers and ahimsa
Villagers have battled to save a baby elephant which fell down a well.
Locals heard its mother running around at night, frantically calling for
other elephants to help her. Many animals did come but they couldn't rescue
Elephants in America:
Attempts to criminalize the use of bull hooks on elephants in the USA
have failed: "Most California zoos do not condone this type of training, but
the national organization, AZA, still allows chaining and use of the
bull hook as an acceptable form of elephant management, and supports Have
Trunk Will Travel as a Certified Related Facility" IDA alert
A bill was introduced in the Connecticut legislature to ban the use of
bull hooks and other harmful devices, but the bill was not passed: "Bill
Description: If passed, this bill would make it unlawful for a person who
owns or travels with elephants to engage in inhumane or abusive treatment
toward them. Specifically, this bill bans the use of any implement that may
reasonably result in harm to an elephant. These implements include an
electric prod, bull hook, ankus, or similar device. Update: Sadly, this bill
failed to make its way through the legislative process in compliance with
legislative deadlines." Born Free USA
There have been a number of reported disturbing incidents of abuse of captive circus elephants. These elephants are viewed by their trainers as objects to be managed, dominated and beaten into submission, so that the may be exploited for human greed. There is no recognition that elephants are sensitive beings with feelings, capable of experiencing pain and sorrow. These trainers are well versed in the biblical intention of dominion, which does not recognize the intrinsic worth of an animals life. These trainers do not work with the elephants, rather they seek power over. These trainers do not have the understanding or appreciation of the true value of an elephant. Nor do they have the compassion, empathy or skill of a mahoot. All they are capable of understanding is the profit to be gained, no matter how great the violence inflicted. The following shows how a baby elephant is trained with a bull hook by his/her dominion-based handlers: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/bound-babies.asp
baby elephant trained with a bull hook for Ringling Bros Circus
Does this trainer really have to use a bull hook to protect himself from
this harmless toddler. Rather it would seem he has to establish his dominion
over this helpless creature. Simply put, this is child abuse, but in the
language of dominion it is training. With dominion there is no attempt to
communicate or form a relationship with the elephant, just to instill
biblical fear and dread:
"God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.' genesis
dominion over elephants:
The public was repeatedly and falsely assured that Tai was never mistreated. The American humane societies have given their seal of approval that "no animal was harmed in the making of this film" Indeed, by the standards of dominion these elephants are props to be manipulated for human profit, so that any wounds inflicted are deemed trivial and a necessary part of training and production.
This is not the first encounter of accusations of elephant abuse for Have
Trunk will Travel. Newly released video footage from Animal Defenders
International shows the trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT)--the
company that provides elephants for rides at the Santa Ana Zoo--as they
strike elephants with sharp metal-tipped bull hooks and shock them with
electric prods while the elephants scream in pain:
The sorrowful soul pictured on the right is a product of man's dominion
over the elephant. S/he is kept in chains, beaten and prodded into
submission and isolated from his/her companions. Should such a traumatized
and psychologically wounded elephant protest his/her torment, s/he is deemed
a rogue and shot, as s/he no longer complies with the dictates of dominion.
lack of legislation, protection and compassion
Elephants and ahimsa:
an elephant and his mahout at the Guruvayoor Anakotta - Guruvayur
Devaswom elephant sanctuary at Punnathur Kotta. Punnathur Kotta is about 5
Km south of Guruvayoor temple.
The items presented on the respect and compassion shown towards elephants in India gives hope that they would not have to languish in captivity with the brutality currently inflicted on them in dominion based nations. Religion really does make a difference. It would be very different, if religions didn't sanctify animal abuse.
"All things breathing, all things existing, all living beings whatever,
would not be slain or treated with violence, or insulted, or tortured or
driven away. This is the pure unchanging eternal law, which the wise ones who
know the world have proclaimed..." Jain Acharanga Sutra