Gary and Kari Johnson, owners of Have Trunk Will Travel, and Tai, have consistently claimed that they don't beat elephants in order to get them to do tricks. They claim they train elephants through positive reinforcement, getting elephants do tricks without fear, pain or intimidation - only using a bullhook as a "guide". They have even made these claims under oath during a recent Ringling Brothers trial, while defending known abusers.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has released footage showing Tai and other elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel being subjected to electric shocks and beatings with bullhooks as part of their "training".
Rob wondered how they get Tai to do those tricks, and unforunately he now has his answer. They get her to do them the same way they get every other elephant to perform - by beating and abusing her.
Have Trunks Will Travel Elephant "training" video
For the record, animal groups that release footage of animal abuse have never lost a lawsuit by any offender - they wouldn't risk releasing footage they didn't know was legitmate. That said, Have Trunk Will Travel is free to respond to this footage, and prove that they are not the subjects of this video.
It is way past time this cruel, barbaric and archaic use of wild animals for entertainment is made illegal. There is no humane way to deny wild animals a natural environment or "train" them to do tricks.
Other news sources covering this story (I'll keep this updated):
The Sydney Morning Herald