June 1st, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Elephant helps move Joplin tornado debris

The circus was in Joplin last week, but no one in the tornado-ravaged Missouri town was really interested in seeing clowns or anyone on a flying trapeze.

An elephant, though, had a very enthusiastic audience.

A CNN affiliate in Kansas City reports that the Piccadilly Circus allowed one of its elephants to help move debris from the May 22 twister that leveled whole neighborhoods. Many folks cheered, but some were outraged, saying the elephant was being mistreated.

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. vet in tx

    I love the people who say elephants love working, they work all around the world..........like there is a world elephant employment agency and they are lining up to be whipped, I guess the stick and ropes they use to help them with their people skills is for show? Idiots!

    June 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Elephants are used for work, no I'm sure they don't line up at an employment agency but neither do work horses, oxen that plow fields, dogs that pull sleds. Being from a farm community and having a veterinary background you could argue that yes milk cows do line up for milking but only because we keep them lactating!

      June 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sue

    Can't you just say "thank you?" Elephants move things and they do it very well. So what if the circus got a little positive publicity. I've been helped by circus folk before and they are awesome, caring people. The elephant got to do what elephants do. The kids of Joplin got a distraction. A lot of debris got moved for the cost of a couple bales of hay – unless of course there is an "elephant's union" I don't know about. And the circus was shown in a positive light – it's a "win-win" all the way around.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      Sue, I agree with your post 100%!

      June 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mari Hill

    I love the way the elephant helped, but as usual the poor creature is being used for something! Why not release the poor things out in a pasture to walk around free of chains, ropes, riding for hours in a box car. It kills me to see those poor animals used for any type of entertainment. I still say REFUSE TO TAKE YOUR KIDS TO A CIRCUS.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Absolutely correct.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Manny

    People need to stop humanizing pack and working animals. These animals have brains that operate on having a job/doing an activity, eating, and reproducing. Having feelings with humans is not important to them. For those animals that are domesticated, restricting their activity/job will just make them bored and behave in ways that could actually be destructive to themselves and to people in general. Grow up, hippies.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gethetruth

      @ Manny You need to grow up. Humanizing Pack and working animals ? What you think God created them for man to abuse and have domain over them ? All wild animals must be set free; circus animals are abused during training and punished every day. The circus needs to have only human performers. The kids should go to the zoo, where animals are provide better and natural conditions for learning purposes.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • turd

      omg elephant turd

      June 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • gettherealtruth

      Genesis -Adam would have " in subjection every living creature", so yes.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • jordan

      @get the "real" truth -

      first, that's a mistranslation. but i'm SURE you know that; you just chose to keep using the incorrect version because it suits your established ideas of how the world should be. (a more correct translation would be something along the lines of "caretaker" or "guardian." "God" asked adam and eve to be the gardeners/caretakers of His creation/paradise. He didn't give them control and mastery over it.)

      second, that's just one myth from religion. not everyone subscribes to it. and i bet nearly every single animal, bird, etc...including this elephant...would disagree with this myth.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. paula

    for goodness sake just be grateful for any and all help and its a wonderful spirit lifter for the populace of Joplin...circus people a community unto themselves and give just as well as people in other communities..God Bles "Em I say

    June 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa

    People need to get a grip on reality here. Elephants are good at moving things and this is not abuse. If this were africa would anyone be accusing those elephants of being abused in their daily lives? I didn't think so.
    The circus people did a good thing just be grateful for the help you get. People show pity on Joplin but if they wanna be mean about the help they get then shame on them. People mean them no harm. Take the help and be accepting and grateful.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BECARFULL-OF ELEPHANT CONDITION -EXPLAINED -BELOW

    I ONCE READ -FROM AN IDIAN ELEPHABT HANDLER -THAT ELEPHANTS GO THROUGH A YEARLY -PHYSICAL CHANGE -AND ITS IS THIS TIME THAT THE ANIMALS GET VERRY DANGEROUS -DEADLY AND UNSTABLE -IT STARTS WITH – LEAKAGE FROM THE JAW OR EAR AREA – THE CONDITION IS CALLED MANGE OR SOMETHING SIMULAR -WHEN ELEPHANTS ARE GOING THROUGH THIS STAGE WICH TAES TWO WEEKS TO A MONTH -IF THE FUID DRAINS DOWN TOWARD THERE MOUTH AND THEY INJEST IT THEY LITTERALLY GO CRAZY AND RABID IN -DESTRUCTIVENESS – MANY HANDLERS WILL CHAIN THE ELEPHANTS BETWEEN TREES WHEN THE SUSPECT THIS MAY HAPPEN NEAR VILLAGES WITH PEOPLE – BECAUSE EVEN TAMED ELEPHANYS WILL GO ON RAMPAGING LIKE THERE RABID -SO I WOULD HOPE THE CIRCUS TRAINER IS UNIQUELY AWARE OF THIS . BECAUSE ELEPHANTS DURRING THIS CONDITION WILL GO TEMPORARILY CRAZY AND RIP UP THINGS KICK AND STOMP PEOPLE TO DEATH -WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT -SO PLEASE BE OBSERVANT AND CAREFULL -elephants are most of the time -veery good animals and have been as close as dogs as mans best friend in india for ever – they are verry helpfull in lumber trades and are an asset – so other than this condition i have nothing bad to say about them -aside from the wild ones the tammed ones if treated right are wonderfull pets .

    June 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • BECARFULL-OF ELEPHANT CONDITION -EXPLAINED -BELOW

      i do have a few complaints – the circus guys

      1. need to make sure the elephant is well fed and watered and cooled down –
      2. they have certain things elephants work with – there tusks-there trunks there legs and the trainer or operator either stands along side when pulling or sits atop while dragging or lifting – elephants have certain "harnessess"in india – i dont think a nylon tow strap arround the neck is not good for the elephant – a shoulder or back harness is better for it .one thats designed for it .
      3. it should have plenty of rest and breaks often . there animals they have to be paced not driven .

      June 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ann

    First, there must be search & rescue / cadaver dogs in Joplin – no one would say, "No, thanks, don't help me find my loved one, dead or alive, because those dogs are being exploited.". Second, elephants are incredibly intelligent, highly socialized creatures; these ones, in particular, are familiar with urban centers; they must have had a strong sense that something was wrong in this place, and that what they were doing was helping. Third, isn't it a well known fact that elephants only show aggression towards humans who, in some way, have pushed them beyond their limits (abuse, degradation of homelands)? Watch more National Geographic, and less FOX.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sentinal2012

    "o.k. o.k. we took the hint but if you run out of money and need a loan call up the mule", Isaaac Asimov, 1945. I hope you are all hitting up those colleges for dorm rooms and places to sleep, and not just in your state. The summers are hot, everywhere, including Massachusetts.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. mschark

    I was a relief volunteer doing debris clean up nearby when this was being filmed. I have a video on YouTube of the exact same car being pulled. Check it out! I did not see any of the circus folk mistreating the elephant (a female elephant BTW). They gave commands the the she obeyed very well. I watched it pull 4 cars in about 15 minutes....VERY IMPRESSIVE!! I dont think a tow truck driver could do any better than that!! This was a good diversion from all the hard work we were doing that day

    June 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    WOW! What a wonderful story. I Lost my store but it is the stories like these that reafirm my feeling that Joplin will survive! Thank you to the folks from the circus that were willing to help out!!! Thank you and God bless!

    June 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
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