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!