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Stop Elephant Rides At The Zoo: An Activist Spotlight

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  • November 23, 2010
  • 11:30 pm
Stop Elephant Rides At The Zoo: An Activist Spotlight

The Santa Ana Zoo is one of only two accredited zoos in the U.S. that continues to offer elephant rides — an ongoing issue, with which there are many opposing views. Many animal activists feel it is abuse and a safety threat for all involved, while others assure us these animals are taken care of and love the attention.

One Care2 petition author, Alicia, was kind enough to share her concerns regarding elephant rides.

You said this issue is close to your heart, why?

Addressing the issue of animal abuse and exploitation in its various forms is something I’ve dedicated myself to. Animals are intelligent, sentient beings, who have the right to live their natural lives in peace. The elephants who are held as captive slaves by Have Trunk Will Travel and the Santa Ana Zoo, endure a miserable existence of deprivation and cruelty. My heart breaks to know that they suffer at human hands.

Was this your motivation for creating the petition?

Yes, my motivation for creating my petition was to do something to help the elephants besides simply boycotting the zoo, or writing a few letters. I wanted to do something that would be more effective by reaching more people.

What is your main goal for the petition?

My main goal for the petition is to deliver a strong message (1,000 signatures) to the director of the Santa Ana Zoo that patrons, and the community at large, disapprove of the zoo offering elephant rides.

I’d like the ultimate result to be a discontinuation of the elephant rides, which would preferably be accompanied by a public statement from the zoo, giving as a reason the inherent cruelty to the animals, as well as the risk to patrons’ safety.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about this issue?

The fact is, there is underlying cruelty and abuse that takes place out of the public eye. Elephants used to give rides, as well as those in circuses, TV commercials, and other contrived settings, are subjected to very harsh training methods that rely heavily on inflicting pain, both physical and emotional. Elephants are beaten into submission and kept in a state of fear, and all for the sake of “amusement” (or more accurately, “profit”).

When zoo patrons pay to ride the elephant, they are endorsing cruelty to animals. They are paying someone to hurt those elephants. People who go to the zoo generally say they love animals, and they’re surprised to learn that the elephants in the zoo are actually harmed.



Do you think elephant rides should be banned from Santa Ana Zoo? If so, sign this petition!


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10:31PM PDT on Mar 30, 2011

No elephants must be made captive, they are too big to start with. Who are we to impose a life of beatings and imprisonment on them, who the hell are we. Elephants have families, their babies need them, elephants are extremely intelligent, many have seen how the matriarchal family teaches its young and we humans are destroying these majestic huge cretures.

12:45AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

The world is getting grazy, stop this

11:37PM PST on Jan 29, 2011

Elephants have incredible memories so when they are older, I am sure their cruel handlers would be in danger from retaliation from said elephants. It happens all the time and I can't blame the poor elephants for reaching boiling point and running amok. They can't be separated from their families yet this happens all the time

11:33PM PST on Jan 29, 2011

yes, it is sad that animals have to be harmed to get them to perform tricks otherwise they wouldn't do them.

I have been to our Sydney zoo to see the newborn elephant who nearly died. He was so cute and he seems really happy being with his family. The other elephants seem quite content although there is not enough room for them really. Their enclosure isn't the wide open fields they need.

3:38AM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Os animais não existem para o nosso entretenimento e/ ou para nosso consumo. boicote jardins zoológicos e circos e qualquer outra indústria que explora os animais para divertimento do homem. -
Animals do not exist for our entertainment and/or for our consumption. Boycott zoos and circuses and any other industry that exploits animals for fun of man.

6:22AM PST on Dec 24, 2010

signed, it's bad enough those wildlife animals are locked up next using them for rides .. what a world

2:26AM PST on Dec 6, 2010

My message was sent to the zoo's director.

2:23AM PST on Dec 6, 2010

My message has gone through to the zoo director.

10:28PM PST on Dec 4, 2010


6:03PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

What a bunch of nonsense. "Riding an animal is slavery?" Get real, people.

Just because elephants carry riders doesn't mean they are abused, and having seen first hand how such a training usually works, I can only shake my head at the nonsense descriptions about electric shocks and whatnot. An abused elephant would be very unsafe to ride on to begin with.

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