(ANIMAL WELFARE) Animal Defenders International (ADI) recently helped cancel elephant rides for the Upland Lemon Festival after the city’s council witnessed ADI’s undercover video footage of the savage training techniques used by the notorious elephant rental company, Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT). Now Vanity Fair magazine has used one of HTWT’s abused elephants, Tai—the same elephant used in the 2011 film, Water for Elephants—for a photo shoot featuring Ben Affleck, Tom Hanks, and Bradley Cooper among others. Gary Johnson, the trainer who is seen on the undercover video beating Tai, was also present at the photo shoot. Read on to find out more details and let Vanity Fair know that you don’t support elephant abuse. — Global Animal
Animal Defenders International
Vanity Fair’s current “19th Hollywood Portfolio” issue features Tai, a performing elephant who, along with other elephants, is seen being viciously beaten and given electric shocks with stun guns during training and handling, in undercover video captured by ADI.
The Vanity Fair photo session, shot by Bruce Weber, features over 75 different stars, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Ewan McGregor, Jane Fonda, Amy Adams, Jonah Hill, Selena Gomez, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Stone.
Gary Johnson, the co-owner and trainer at Have Trunk Will Travel who accompanied Tai on set during the Vanity Fair photo shoot, is seen in ADI’s video repeatedly shocking Tai to get her to perform a headstand as she cries out. Have Trunk Will Travel has confirmed this footage is of their staff, and publicly stated they stand behind their training methods.
See footage from Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) of Perris, CA.
Since ADI released our undercover footage, the Orange County Fair, LA County Fair, Upland Lemon Festival, Santa Ana Zoo, and the cities of Fountain Valley, and Sierra Madre have all cancelled elephant ride contracts with Have Trunk Will Travel.
ADI has written to Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, with a copy of the footage of the abuse of Tai and other elephants. We have asked that Vanity Fair undertakes to not use performing wild or exotic animals in future.
What You Can Do
Please send a polite email to Graydon Carter expressing your disappointment, and ask him to keep animal actors out of the pages of Vanity Fair.
Graydon Carter, Editor
For animal actors, life in the entertainment industry is far from glamorous. Beyond the abusive behind-the-scenes training, beautiful majestic animals like Tai are treated like another stage prop—where one day they might be in a photo shoot, and the next treated like a carnival ride being carted around the country or performing circus tricks. Our footage from earlier this year shows Tai on the road with the circus performing the same tricks as those seen on the undercover video, being trained with beatings and electric shocks.