For several years, the notorious animal trainers from Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) have provided elephant rides annually at the Santa Ana Zoo — but Switched at Birth star Constance Marie is determined that this year will be different.
In light of the recently released video footage from Animal Defenders International—which shows HTWT trainers repeatedly beating and shocking elephants in order to teach them “who’s boss” and intimidate them into giving rides or performing tricks—the actor has sent a letter on PETA's behalf to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido asking him to make sure that the abusive company doesn’t return to the zoo this fall.
“My friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have just shown me the shocking video footage recently released by Animal Defenders International showing trainers from Have TrunkWill Travel (HTWT) repeatedly beating elephants,” writes the celebrity. "Every swing of the trainers’ bullhooks and jab with the electric prods horrified me, and seeing a baby elephant scream in pain each time someone jabbed a sharp bullhook into his mouth was simply heartbreaking. I’m sure that compassionate people everywhere are having the same reaction as they realize what these intelligent, sensitive animals endure as workers intimidate them into giving rides or performing silly tricks. Yet the city of Santa Ana has yet to change its plans to allow HTWT to bring the elephants back next season. I urge to you do the right thing and stop the cruel elephant rides from returning to the Santa Ana Zoo in the fall.
“I can’t imagine any justification for allowing these rides to continue, particularly after the release of this video. The elephant rides hurt Santa Ana’s reputation and send a terrible message to the children who are the main target of the rides. I have no doubt that as a parent yourself, you know firsthand how sensitive kids are to the plight of animals, and if they knew how these magnificent animals were beaten to force them into submission, their hearts would break.
“I hope to hear that you will immediately make the compassionate decision to stop the rides at the zoo once and for all.”