From being forced to perform in circuses to being confined behind bars in zoos, elephants have long been treated inhumanely in the interest of human entertainment. The most recent instance of elephant mistreatment comes from HBO and the producers of the popular sci-fi series “Westworld.” In this show, guests come to an amusement park where they are able to interact with “hosts” who act like humans but are actually robots. Yet instead of using technology to create realistic looking elephants for the show, producers felt the need to use two real elephants in a recent episode.
Before arriving on the set of “Westworld,” these innocent elephants were subjected to horrific abuse by the elephant trainer and supplier Have Trunk Will Travel. Shocking footage taken by Animal Defenders International (ADI) during their 2013 undercover investigation of the elephant company shows the animals being brutally beaten with bullhooks and shocked with stun guns. The elephants can be heard screaming out in pain as they are subjected to this horrifically torturous “training.”
While HBO has claimed that these elephants do not experience such abuse on their sets and promised that the animals are “treated with the utmost care and respect for their health, safety and well-being,” we find that hard to believe. After all, one of the two elephants who appeared on “Westworld,” a 51-year-old female named Tai, was trained by the same company for the movie Water for Elephants, and its producers also insisted that she suffered no abuse. Plus, even if the elephants are treated humanely during the filming of the TV show, HBO and the producers of “Westworld” are still perpetuating the vicious cycle of animal cruelty by using elephants that were trained in such an atrocious manner.
In the words of ADI President Jan Creamer, “With no way to guarantee the welfare of the animals off set, we urge HBO and other studios to end their use of live animals. There is no excuse for using the real thing when technology provides a realistic, humane alternative.”
If you agree that it’s time to put a stop to the cruel treatment of elephants for the entertainment of society, sign this petition to tell HBO to use digital elephants instead of real ones! And don’t forget to spread awareness about this issue — many people don’t know that elephant abuse is still a major problem in our country, and we need all the help we can get to put an end to it for good!
Image Source: Pixabay