Cruelty Isn’t Amusement: Six Flags Finally Faces The Elephant In The Room

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, California. Photo Credit: Flickr

(ELEPHANT RIDES/ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS) In another grand victory for elephants in California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo–the last zoo in the U.S. to still offer elephant rides–has cut ties with abusive elephant company Have Trunk Will Travel, and will no longer force elephants to give rides to park visitors.

The decision comes just weeks after TripAdvisor announced they will no longer sell tickets to cruel animal attractions like elephant rides, swimming with dolphins, etc., and Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that prohibits the use of abusive bullhooks to train elephants.

In 2011, Animal Defenders International (ADI) caught Have Trunk Will Travel handlers on tape beating elephants into submission with bullhooks–weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp metal hook on one end–and shocking them with electric prods. After the investigation, ADI presented the footage to Six Flags in an attempt to urge them to cancel elephant rides along with their other exotic animal attractions, and luckily the years of pressure have finally paid off.

Continue reading for more on Six Flags‘ decision, as well as Have Trunk Will Travel’s lengthy history of animal abuse. While you’re at it, click here to urge travel companies to stop promoting cruel elephant rides. — Global Animal

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, California. Photo Credit: Flickr
A trainer uses a bullhook to train a captive elephant at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. Photo Credit: Flickr

World Animal News, Margot Ryan

It is confirmed! Six Flags Discovery Kingdom declares that elepahnts are gone from their theme park and will no longer contract with the abusive elephant company, Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT). They have also agreed to no longer offer elephant rides at their Vallejo, California theme park.

The non-profit organization Animal Defenders International’s (ADI), conducted an undercover investigation of HTWT which they released in 2011. Footage collected from their investigation revealed shocking video evidence of abuse upon elephants including beatings and electric shocks with stun huns during routine husbandry and training.


ADI President, Jan Creamer stated:

“The elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel are forced to perform through fear and violence and it is a huge relief to hear that they are not coming back to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. We are proud of the compassionate local citizens who have protested and spoken out alongside ADI, and we have no doubt these efforts made the difference in bringing these abusive rides to an end.”

Photo Credit: World Animal News
Tai is a performing elephant from Have Trunk Will Travel, an abusive elephant rental company. Photo Credit: World Animal News

After their investigation, ADI had contacted Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s management for years. They presented their footage in efforts to urge them to cancel elephant rides as well as their other exotic animal attractions.

ADI has also successfully presented evidence to cancel HTWT contracts at the Santa Ana Zoo; San Diego, Los Angeles, Nevada, Kern, and Orange County Fairs; the California cities of Sierra Madre, Fountain Valley, and Upland; Surprise, Arizona; and Curacao Children’s Fair in Los Angeles.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is active worldwide to end the suffering of captive animals in commercial use: animals used in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure such as hunting or for products such as fur. Replacement of animals in scientific research; funding and promotion of non-animal advanced methods. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Information is distributed to the media, public and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large scale seizures or rescues of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.

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TAKE ACTION: Click here to urge travel companies to stop promoting cruel elephant rides!