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'Water for Elephants' Star

Claims of Abuse

5/9/2011 12:20 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The elephant featured in the Reese Witherspoon/Robert Pattinson movie "Water for Elephants" was abused years before filming the movie -- this according to an animal rights group that claims it has video to prove it.

0509_elephant_video

Animal Defenders International
claims the video shows Tai, the elephant in the movie ... and several other elephants ... being trained with electric shock devices and bull hooks back in 2005.

ADI claims the trainers in the video are actually Tai's current owners -- a company called Have Trunk Will Travel.

The American Humane Association was on set during filming of "Water for Elephants" and says "no animals were harmed" ... and filmmakers used computer generated images for the scenes depicting animal abuse.

As for the 2005 video ... the American Humane Association says they are aware of it and will comment shortly.

Calls to Have Trunk Will Travel were not returned. 

UPDATE: A rep for AHA tells us, "We were not present when this video was shot in 2005. We are not clear about all of the content of this video."

The rep adds, "We hope with all our heart that the disturbing images on it are not what they appear to be.  We know Tai, have worked with Tai, care about Tai and we have never witnessed any mistreatment of Tai."

119 COMMENTS

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1.

en Todo Momento!!    

well in particular, males (men, boys, bros, dudes, etc...) think that 'abuse' is not really 'abuse' but necessary 'training'.....go figure. stupidity reigns supreme once again. and in the case of big or 'dangerous' animals, they believe that inflicting pain (abusing the animal) is going to actually help in training or teaching an animal effectively, (or a human, for that matter...) to act according to their wishes really. and it does not. chances are, when you inflict pain on a very large or very dangerous animal, their unpredictable outburst reaction is going to be an equivalent to that physical as well as emotional abuse you have imposed yourself above them, with. thus: not pretty. eventually, the animal or person will display and or express that they have had it with you. and then you are all gonna cry, waaah waaaah waaaah...

1201 days ago
2.

Canadasux    

I wish these nuts would find something more constructive and productive to do with their lives.

1201 days ago
3.

Street Smart    

de-ball these cack=suckers and shove them in their eye-balls

get em PETA

1201 days ago
4.

Sabrina    

Goes to show you how far animals have not come! Elephants should be free and not chained down to do stupid human tricks by any force used:( Feel so sorry for them, they r very intelligent animals and abuse shouldn't be an option.

1201 days ago
5.

Adri    

I hope that Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon speak up against this and give money to a good elephant sanctuary like the one in Tennessee. This is lousy! I'm not surprised, though.

1201 days ago
6.

Anon    

I love elephants and deliberately avoided this movie because I worried how they were treated. I like Reese but won't be seeing this movie, even on cable.

1201 days ago
7.

Violette-Blue    

How horrible!!!! Elephants are gentle animals and deserve to be treated with respect. All animals deserve to be treated with respect. I can think of tons of humans who don't though. Let's do electric shock on a few of them and see how they like it. Go get them Peta!!!!

1201 days ago
8.

Caroline    

This is so disturbing I'll never watch this movie just by looking at the harsh treatment to these elephants. It makes me so sick.. that's not a life. What's the cost? For our entertainment?? It's not right!

1201 days ago
9.

smashley    

people are disgusting.

1201 days ago
10.

besenagyúr    

Look around and claim for humans abuse... i think it's a made up thing to cry out their beeing. If it would be real abusement, than Tai should never lived about 43 years... I think so many people has so many time for something, what is nothing. Claim for human rights in war districts. It would be useful

1201 days ago
11.

Random Arrow    

Screw PETA. All animals should be hunted and killed. MEAT IS TASTY!

1201 days ago
12.

Cujeaux    

When is Hollywood going to learn to keep wild animals out of the film industry. Those F*ing trainers should be in jail. No one has the right to profit off of an animal, period.

1201 days ago
13.

justsaying    

We've got kids being raped and molested, women being beaten to within one inch of their lives; being shot and killed by their husbands/boyfriends, and PETA wants us to stop trying to help them and worry about an elephant. No one should abuse an animal, but if my choice is to help them or humans, the animals are going to lose every time.

1201 days ago
14.

Natalie    

Anon you are wrong about this movie. It does show cruelty towards the elephant but Robert Pattinson's character finds true love with the elephant and understand how to speak to the elephant without harm. Its a wonderful love story not just between him and Reese Witherspoon but with the elephant as well. I have lots of love for any elephant and this movie shows one mans true love for the elephant and how to save her from danger. You should start by reading the book before you give criticism to this movie. Its my favorite book because of the love between Jacob and Rosie the Elephant.

1201 days ago
15.

Traci    

this makes me sick to my stomach, we should be able to shock and prod THEM with bull hooks

1201 days ago
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