An African elephant park has been accused of treating its elephants inhumanely. An animal rights group in South Africa accused the park of cruelty after a video that shows park staff members mistreating the animals, was discovered.
“The footage shows elephant calves and juvenile elephants being chained, roped and stretched, shocked with electric cattle prods and hit with bull hooks,” the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said.
The group believes the animals were being treated cruelly to break their spirits so they would be more willing to obey their human trainers.
“The elephants show signs of crippling injuries with severely swollen legs and feet, debilitating abscesses and wounds,” National Council of SPCA’s inspector Wendy Willson said.
“The calculated and premeditated cruelty of this nature that took place at this facility is a far cry from the loving sanctuary image that Elephants of Eden/Knysna Elephant Park like to portray,” she continued.
— YouSign.org (@YouSignorg) May 20, 2014
The SPCA filed a report with the police against Elephants of Eden, the Knysna Elephant Park, their directors and management.
Willson said that it is not uncommon for elephants to be “broken” in such a manner and that it happens in many other parks across the world. Because the animals are so large, trainers feel the need to intimidate them to make them obey their commands.
Many elephants eventually rebel and have even been known to attack their trainers or innocent bystanders as a result of the fear and frustration brought on by their mistreatment.
If the elephant park directors and management are found guilty of animal cruelty, they could face up to three years in jail and have the elephants removed from their park.
The park directors claim that there is no abuse going on within the park and defended themselves on Twitter and Facebook.
Knysna Elephant Park would like to say a huge thank you to all for the support offered to us by our loyal… http://t.co/9s1zJCvJ4F
— Knysna Elephant Park (@knysnaelephant) May 21, 2014
Willson and the group hopes the elephants are removed and the park is closed. The animals will likely find new homes at a rescue or sanctuary where they will be cared for properly and not mistreated.
Image via Wikimedia Commons