This zoo is using grotesque weapons like prods and bullhooks to “train” their elephants

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: The City of Monterey, California

Medieval tactics are being used to curb, abuse, and dominate innocent animals at a zoo located -- of all places -- in California, which is supposed to rank among the top tier states for animal protection laws. How can these conflicting facts both be true? Because the Monterey Zoo is blatantly, and without remorse, breaking the law. They are illegally using bullhooks, prods, and other terrifying equipment to beat, stab, and punish their elephants into submission for the sole purpose of human entertainment and monetary gain. 

Sign the petition and demand that Monterey revoke Monterey Zoo's operating license so that these poor animals can be relocated to sanctuaries, where they can finally live safe and happy lives!

Bullhooks are just as gruesome as they sound -- long, heavy rods of wood with sharp metal hooks on the end, which are often dirty and rusty. If an elephant does something a trainer doesn't like, they are beaten and stabbed with these weapons until they learn from negative reinforcement to shut down and act like the zombie that these zookeepers want them to be. "Something a trainer doesn't like" can really be anything -- these are wild animals, and are not always going to act in entertaining, exciting, or desirable ways for humans. Imagine going about your life, driven by instincts and a pursuit of safety and happiness, only to be met with a brutal assault for it.

For the above reasons, California actually has a sweeping ban against the use of bullhooks, as well as canes and prods, which often carry a terrifying electrical charge. This is fantastic news for animals -- but only when those rules are followed. Monterey Zoo is explicitly breaking a law that is in place to protect animals, all while their website dishonestly / deceitfully boasts about the zoo being an incredible home for animals. What exactly is their definition of "incredible?"

When you look into this zoo a bit further, suddenly this law-breaking and abuse is less surprising, but not less tragic. The zoo is owned by Charlie Sammut, a former cop who first became interested in the animal world when he seized a pet cougar from someone he had arrested. From there, he acquired more and more exotic animals. Instead of learning anything about them or obtaining an education in zoology, he spent his time training and exploiting them to be on TV and film.

Sammut's zoo has come under scrutiny before, specifically for the way it treats its elephants. In 2019, two sweet elephants named Kristy and Paula died within a short time of each other. Autopsies were performed, and the discoveries were shocking -- as a result of poor care, one of the elephants' "intestinal tissues were rotting away," and the other was in such bad condition that she likely felt excruciating pain with every movement she made. 

That should have been enough of a reason to rescue every single animal from this nightmare facility and send them to sanctuaries. The use of bullhooks, prods, and canes on elephants is just the most recent case of abuse at the Monterey Zoo. If they do not close their doors, this will surely not be the last of this facility's abuses.

Sign the petition and demand that the city Monterey stand up for these voiceless animals! Revoke Charlie Sammut's operating license so that the Monterey Zoo's doors close forever and no more animals have to suffer the horrors within!

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