The Images Of Elephants Brutalized By Employees At This Large Zoo Elicit A Wave Of Anger


On Tuesday April 4, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) published an investigation revealing the cruel practices used against the elephants at the Hanovre Zoo in northern Germany.In the images, captured with a hidden camera, a group of young pachyderms are brutalized by their trainers who are trying to teach them to perform tricks for the public.


Source: PETA

The instructors use a "bullhook," which resembles a large poker and is prohibited in several countries. The instrument which causes extreme pain for the animals when it pierces their skin, has a stem and a metal tip which is used to make the elephants "submit" to their will.In the images published by PETA, the zookeeper clearly reprimands the young elephant with this tool.PETA interviewed Carol Buckly, elephant specialist, about this treatment. The scientist explained:

If they make a mistake, the elephants experience physical violence, harassment, intimidation and emotional stress. They are constantly threatened with punishment. 

[caption id="attachment_9889" align="alignnone" width="1024"]

Young elephants at the Hanovre Zoo. Source: Zoo Hannover[/caption]

According to PETA, it seems that the elephant spectacles are a last ditch effort to fight the decreasing numbers of people coming to the zoo. The association declared:

When the trainers find that the animals don't perform their tricks in a satisfying manner, the hook is violently pressed into their sensitive zones. [...] These cases of mistreatment are not isolated incidents. 

The German newspaper, Report Mainz, which reported on the PETA investigation, showed the tapes to zoo authorities, but they justified them by saying the hook made the animals obey trainers more easily, notably during medical care. In addition, the video where an elephant is hit, was not clear enough for officials.

PETA refuted the arguments put forward by zoo directors and declared on their site:

This practice causes suffering for the elephants whose skin is thin and can feel the bite of an insect. 

Sadly, the cruelty and mistreatment by these German zoos aren't isolated incidents. The association gathered proof of acts of elephant mistreatment  throughout the country.

Whether the animals are treated well or not, that doesn't change the fact that they are removed from their natural habitat. PETA explained:

Elephants don't belong in a zoo. They should be in the forests and savannas of Africa and Asia, where they can travel long distances with their families. Their living conditions in zoos are far from that in nature, and many animals die much earlier in captivity. 


Source: PETA

The association also rejected the argument which certain zoos use, explaining that the captivity of animals contributes to wildlife conservation:

No reintroduction is done. Zoos buy elephants captured in nature and contribute to the disappearance of wild animals. 

PETA launched a petition to put an end to the cruel treatment of animals at the Hanovre Zoo. If you would like to add your signature, click here.While some zoos may be educational and informative, animals were not put on this earth to be trapped in small enclosures for humans to look at and take selfies with.They deserve to be in the wild, enjoying their freedom and not suffering cramped and terrible living conditions for the sake of visitors.To find out more about what you can do, visit PETA's campaign to shut down zoos.To find out more about what you can do, visit PETA's campaign to shut down zoos.

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