South Africa elephant park accused of ‘horrific’ cruelty
Cruelty charges laid with police against Elephants of Eden park after video of animals’ spirit being broken by abuse
theguardian.com, Tuesday 20 May 2014 10.06 BST
Elephants being abused at Elephants of Eden/Knysna Elephant Park in South Africa Photograph: /NSPCA
A South African animal rights group on Tuesday accused an elephant park of cruelty after “horrific” video footage emerged of abusive training methods used on baby elephants.
“The footage shows elephant calves and juvenile elephants being chained, roped and stretched, shocked with electric cattle prods and hit with bull hooks,” the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said.
This was done to break the animals’ spirit so that they would obey humans, it said in a statement.
“The elephants show signs of crippling injuries with severely swollen legs and feet, debilitating abscesses and wounds,” National Council of SPCAs inspector Wendy Willson said.
The video was taken on the premises of Elephants of Eden in the Eastern Cape where they were being trained for elephant-back safaris, she 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,” Willson said.
The SPCA said it laid cruelty charges with the police against Elephants of Eden, the Knysna Elephant Park, their directors and management.
If the case is brought to court and the directors and managers are convicted, they could face sentences of up to three years in jail on each charge and lose all their elephants, Willson told AFP.