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. Ellis

    An elephant,or Bob's mother?

    June 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ellis

    Happy St. Patrick's Day.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sarah

    People have been using animals for centuries to help haul things and pull people to safety or rescue, do you think a trained dog that helps sniff out drugs is being exploited because it has an acute sense of smell that we don't have or what about horses that help till up farm land? are they being exploited? or malamute huskies that pull sick people on sleds? that elephant is not being exploited. just as people use the dog with his keen sense of smell that we don't have, they are using the elephant who has the strength that we don't and they are not being mean in any way that i can see, so there!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alizeh

      Couldn't have said it better myself =)

      June 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah

    That's ridiculous, you're exploiting the elephant. A tow truck could easily do that. What a show

    June 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christy

      I completely agree with you!

      June 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen T

      Then you should have a problem with dogs that are used for herding, horses and mules for plowing fields... oh and you don't drink milk... cows are abused for that... or wear wool sweaters... PLEASE!... grow a brain, elephants have been used for thousands of years for this kind of task.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • kellie

      Let's see you get a tow truck or even a large tractor in there to move the debris. That is, IF you can even find one available in the area AND you can afford to pay the operator for thier services! If it were my place, I would use my horses, cows, dogs and whatever else I could get a harness on to help clear the area.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Heather

    How nice of the circus to help!! Remember that elephant can get into areas that tractors and backhoe's can't. I bet if someone showed up with a team of workhorses no one would be complaining. Work horses can be just as dangerous. A two ton shire draft horse can do as much damage as an elephant can. Also remember a backhoe can break and hurt someone. A tractor can flip over and hurt someone. When doing heavy work like this there is always a chance someone could get hurt no matter the tool being used. Again thank you circus for helping out!!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marsha K Kravetz

    I , too, am outraged !!! Just another hideous example of animal abuse. !! These humans are too damn lazy to work themselves, using heavy machinery. I'd like to see that elephant turn around, take his trunk and bang a couple of heads together!!!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • VASouthernBell

      Your crazy, these people have enough to worry about! If the circus wants to help, then let them, stop being selfish!

      June 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      You are an idiot....

      June 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      Would you say the same about the elephants being used to haul wood in India? Or the elephants in Africa helping to herd cattle? Animal abuse is different from using a working animal to help people in need. Maybe the elephant was used to move things out of the way for the heavy machinery? Did you think of that?

      June 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      I can't even begin to tell you how uneducated and insensitive you and those like you have made yourselves out to be with such a comment. There is nothing else anyone can say that will make you or your "supporters" look any more pathetically misinformed than you've managed to make yourselves appear.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marsha's Nose is longer than the elephant's

      Pachyderms have long been used to lift and move objects. Many animals enjoy having a "job" to do. Boredom is what hurts most zoo animals. This bit of "work" is probably fun for the animal. With all the people watching if the elephant did not want to do something, it would not have as there was no way it would have been beaten to make it perform.

      June 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gigi

      Marsha is a Vegan from Baltimore. That explains all I need to know.

      June 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    In India elephants are regularly used as work animals. Do we say horses, mules, oxen, dogs are mistreated when they are worked? It's the novelty of seeing a creature normally seen in a zoo, doing work it's cut out for. This is normal work for elephants, lifting heavy objects that human man power can't & without having to resort to expensive machinery. Even in nature elephants clear rubble in their paths, & often tear down large trees. They can be quite destructive. Let the elephant help & leave the abuse comments for those who truly abuse! In Bastrop TX. 150 mistreated, malnourished dogs were recently rescued. In comparison...well, I think I've made my point!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Great points!

      June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen T

      I agree. I think that elephants enjoy having a purpose like this... it's natural for them. What is not natural is doing ridiculous tricks for entertainment.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cleekk

    So, Marsha, your answer to exploitation is violence. People like you know nothing about anything, but are quick to express your opinions. I just lived through the Tornadoes that hit AL, GA, and TN. With all the devastation, there is an acute shortage of available equipment to handle these kinds of emergencies. There were over 10,000 houses with trees on top of them, yet probably fewer than 30 cranes in the Chattanooga area. Surely even you can do the math. Who knows but what the elephant might be enjoying a break in the Circus routine. It is the Circus itself that is usually cited for inhumane treatment of its animals. But I see you have no problem condemning the survivors who have just lost everything, who are going through a tremendous amount of psychological devastation – as too lazy to work themselves using equipment that doesn't exist.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ace Ventura

    This is the rare African elephant I've been searching for...alllrighty then!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sarah

    good points cleekk, fernace, and heather, another point is if there were back hoes and tractors or tow trucks there they would have been damaged by the tornado also so thetsprobably another reason that the elephant is being used and who's to say if they get mistreated i bet the elephants that help get all kinds of pats and treats, and baths! i've seen ppl use them in similar ways and they give them positive feed back by patting and scratching the elephant, letting them play with water, all that.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. StupidMarsha

    Get over yourself. You're probably upset because you have a strong resemblance to the elephant.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cynthia

    I think this was a great idea for the circus to volunteer one of its elephants to help clear up some of the debris. Evidently Marsha you have never been in this sort of situation yourself and seem to be very hard on these poor folks who have gone through this devastating storm and now are trying to clean and clear up their town and are, I am certain grateful for any type of help. Maybe you should get up off your lazy butt and go volunteer in Joplin and then maybe you would realize how hard it has been and will be for a long time for these people to try and get back to some sort of normalcy in their lives. Thank you circus people for your kindness!!!!!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Splint Chesthair

    Never trust an idiot with a safety pin stuck through her ear.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    I live an hour from Joplin... Many of these people that you are calling lazy and idiots are friends of mine... They are going through more in one week then you probly have in your measley existance... Stop complaining. If it is animal cruelty why don't you get your lazy butt away from your computer and go do it yourself... you know... sav the elephant from having to do it...

    June 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Suni

    Only crazy people can think of that Elephant being abused!! He/She is being put to great use! May be these folks here commenting on abuse have not traveled far and wide, Elephants and other Animals for centuries have worked among human beings in different parts of the world, what is wrong with it?? No body is hurting this Animal and seems like He/She is getting a break from monotones routines of Circus. Everyone is pitching in the effort to help this town and that is exactly what I see!! Don't try to look for problems where there are none! For crying out loud go and look for communities and homes where children are being abused, women being abused and senior citizens being abused..! Leave the working Elephant alone – HE/SHE IS CLEARLY NOT BEING ABUSED – IT IS CALLED WORK, THAT IS WHAT IT IS DOING!

    June 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
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