Export To Germany Of Abused Baby Elephants Ignites Protest At South African Embassy

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 1999

Toni Vernelli: +44 1273 508 384 

London — Angry members of PETA will burn the South African flag outside of the South African embassy to protest plans to ship seven baby elephants to zoos in Basel and Dresden next week.

Date: Friday, 8th January
Time: 12 noon sharp
Place: South African Embassy, Trafalgar Square

The infant elephants are at the centre of a worldwide attempt to end the cruel capture and treatment of wild infant elephants that has attracted the attention of the Spice Girls, singer Chrissie Hynde, and Richard Pryor; all of whom have appealed to President Nelson Mandela for the elephants’ release. Court testimony from elephant experts about the beating, hobbling, and deprivation of food, water, and sleep of the baby elephants by the Italian animal trader who ordered the capture of the babies prompted a South African magistrate to grant custody of the elephants to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in Johannesburg. But a second South African magistrate has now cleared the way for animal exporter Riccardo Ghiazza to ship the elephants to German and Swiss zoos.

Criminal cruelty charges are still pending against Ghiazza and stem from the treatment of the elephants at the hands of hired Indonesian trainers. During the court’s inspection of the elephants, a trainer was found beating an elephant with a piece of wood with sharp nails protruding from it.

“It’s 1999, time to shut down the African elephant slave trade!” says PETA Europe’s Director Ingrid Newkirk.