I severely dislike ignorance before I've had my first pot of coffee for the day so I felt the need to put this out there. Hollywood's newest release, Water for Elephants, is out now and I was just reading a small bit over on Yahoo regarding "Taj", the elephant used for the movie. The comments from the so called "animal lovers" that decried the use of her for the film and how poorly show animals are treated are fucking laughable.
This is a subject near and dear to my heart as in my younger years, I had the incredible opportunity to travel with circuses around the country in many capacities including working with a wide variety of exotic animals. To the morons that believe that for one second, these animals get mistreated as a rule, I say...Go Fuck Yourselves, You Clueless Morons!
The majority if not all of the show animals out there, whether in Hollywood or on circuses were BORN in captivity, not brought over from Africa or Asia in the prime of their lives and "forced" into performing. They are raised by the trainer from a very young age and treated as a member of the family. They are given the best medical care money can buy along with being fed and housed year round and protected from anything and everything, much as a parent would do for a young child.
I personally know Buckles Woodcock, Benny Williams, John Marone and Mike Stone, just to name a few of the great elephant trainers I have met over the years. These men care as much for their elephants as they do for their own families and would NEVER allow harm to come to them. The elephants also have their own way of handling being mistreated.
I know of one instance where a groom with little experience was working near an elephant and had occasion to hit her with a shovel out of spite. Well, the saying is quite true that "an elephant never forgets" as months later, he was around her and she pulled the stake that had her on the line. She chased him around the trailer she was in front of, pinned him to it and broke his arm. He never hit her again nor any of the others to the best of my knowledge.
Elephants are probably one of the most royally treated of the show animals as they are more easily approached by humans. I have had the occasion to give an elephant a pedicure, a bath and even a haircut in my years on the road. They are staked out and chained while touring not to protect humans from them but to protect them from humans.
To the dullards who think that show animals are abused and held against their will..please look at your own life. You think you have freedom and they don't? You are chained to a job, taxes and responsibility whereas they work about two hours a day and have all their needs met in return with no worries at all by a bevy of grooms, family members and owners.
Before you go spewing off your rhetoric about "how bad their life must be", try living around them for a few years. I guarantee your tune will change.