Protest at Six Flags exposes whistleblowers’ complaints of animal abuse and worker safety problems; Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 10:30am to 12:30pm at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Dr. Vallejo, CA 94589

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Protest at Six Flags exposes whistleblowers’ complaints of animal abuse and worker safety problems

 

October 29, 2015, VALLEJO, CA – Animal Defenders International (ADI) has called a protest over Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s use of abused elephants, which have been filmed by ADI being beaten and shocked with stun guns by their owners Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) during training. ADI and local Advocates for the Animals at Six Flags are asking the public not to pay for the elephant rides or other animal attractions.

 

Six Flags are at the receiving end of a lawsuit from Michael Muraco, former head of Animal Care, and his wife Holley Muraco, who conducted non invasive research on dolphins at Six Flags, recently filed a lawsuit against the theme park and zoo, alleging they were wrongfully terminated and even blamed for problems they were reporting internally. A USDA complaint corroborates the Muracos’ accounts about poor water quality being a factor in the death of two baby dolphins. The Muracos’ filed their complaint October 14, 2015 in the County of Solano Superior Court detailing other issues they claim Six Flags management resisted correcting, including crumbling infrastructure that nearly resulted in an elephant escape, poor water quality, improper diets, overmedication, improper surgical procedures, abusive training techniques, insufficient salt in the tanks, and other compliance issues endangering the health of the animals, employees and the public.

 

Jan Creamer, ADI President: “Six Flags’ record on animal care and safety needs to be thoroughly investigated. They ignored ADI when we raised concern they had hired abused elephants and now eye witnesses are revealing widespread concerns. We are asking the public not to pay to ride abused elephants or attend any animal attractions at the park. When people see how these animals suffer behind the scenes, they don’t want to pay for this kind of cruelty. We hope the event organizers will take a responsible position and end the rides.”

 

ADI has released video evidence showing the owners and trainers at Have Trunk Will Travel beating and shocking their elephants during routine husbandry and training (http://bit.ly/ADI-HTWTInvestigation). The disturbing footage shows:

 

  • Owners and trainers using stun guns and beating animals with bull hooks
  • HTWT boss Kari Johnson viciously striking an elephant
  • A baby elephant being hit over the head and dragged by the trunk
  • Elephants chained by the legs barely able to take one step back and forward (the elephants were being chained from 6.30pm to 6.30am,12 hours a day)

 

HTWT has confirmed that the video depicts their staff and their elephants, and stated publicly that they stand by their training methods.

 

When ADI presented our evidence to Six Flags administrators we were met with silence and Six Flags continues to host elephants from HTWT.

 

This Saturday, local supporters of ADI and Advocates for the Animals at Six Flags will be outside the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, urging visitors not to support the elephant rides and other wild animal exhibits.

 

What:                        Elephant ride outreach at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

When:                        Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 10:30am to 12:30pm

Where:            Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Dr. Vallejo, CA 94589

 

Since ADI released its footage, HTWT was cited by the USDA in 2012 while providing rides at the Central States Fair in Rapid City, SD, for failing to keep a resting elephant “under the direct control and supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced animal handler.” Both HTWT and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are no longer certified under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose new guidelines advise limited contact between humans and elephants in line with modern elephant husbandry.

 

Elephant rides have recently been abandoned by several events after responsible board members viewed the evidence, including the Orange County, Los Angeles County, and 2014 San Diego County Fairs, the city of Fountain Valley, CA, and Santa Ana Zoo.

 

Learn more about “No Fun For Elephants,” ADI’s campaign to end the use of elephants for rides, performances and appearances at public events: http://bitly.com/NoFunForElephants

 

About Animal Defenders International

http://www.ad-international.org

With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.

 

ADI’s Undercover Investigation of Animal Trainers Have Trunk Will Travel

Animal Defenders International released shocking footage from our 8-week undercover investigation of Have Trunk Will Travel, where elephants used in the movies Water for Elephants, Zookeeper, Britney Spears’ circus video and many other ads, shows and live performances were trained. The footage shows the animals being beaten and electric shocked with stun guns to perform the tricks seen in the movies and other performances, including:

 

  • Have Trunk Will Travel owners and trainers using stun guns and beating animals with bull hooks
  • Have Trunk Will Travel boss Kari Johnson viciously striking an elephant
  • A baby elephant being hit over the head and dragged by the trunk
  • Elephants chained by the legs barely able to take one step back and forward (the elephants were being chained from 6:30pm to 6:30am, 12 hours a day)

 

Click here to see the footage, or visit bit.ly/ADI-HTWTInvestigation

 

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