Have Trunk Will Travel, the real owner of the Oregon Zoo's new baby elephant, has faced accusations from Animal Defenders International that it has repeatedly abused its animals.
ADI last year posted a video that allegedly shows a trainer for the traveling elephant troupe using an electric prod to deal with one of its animals. The video also shows trainers repeatedly striking the animals with a stick. A baby elephant is among the animals being hit.
ADI made the allegations after the troupe's animals were used in the movie Water for Elephants.
According to a post by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Have Trunk Will Travel "has a long history of exploiting elephants. It uses elephants who as babies were captured in the wild and subjected to intense beatings to break their spirits."
Seattle Times reporter Michael Berens broke the story last night about the zoo's contract with Have Trunk With Travel for breeding Rose-Tu with one of its bulls.
As Berens reported in his story, "The company has generated controversy over its 30-year history for its use of chains and bullhooks—long-handled, clawed-end training tools used to discipline elephants and train them to perform tricks. Have Trunk Will Travel faces mounting criticism for offering elephant rides at regional fairs and zoos."
Under the zoo's deal with the troupe, Have Trunk Will Travel takes official ownership of the calf, which has not yet been named.