More Background Information
Animal handlers tell the audience that they have a close relationship with the animals. The facts do not support their claims.
Former handlers have reported that the elephants at Six Flags have been chained for hours at a time and beaten severely with bullhooks, breaking their spirits. That way, Six Flags handlers only need to carry the bullhooks to remind the elephants of the abuse and to make them perform. As we know, when Bertie Mae, the 34-year-old elephant, injured her hind leg, they euthanized her. If they cared at all about Bertie Mae, they could easily have let her go to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in San Andreas, CA to live out the rest of her life on 35 wooded, grassy acres with other Asian elephants for company, a warm barn on cold nights and a pond to swim in. PAWS would have picked her up within a day or two at no expense to Six Flags.
Bertie Mae is just one example of the disregard Six Flags has for their animals. Building more and more roller coasters right up against animal enclosures stresses the animals. It seems that their only interest in the animals is the money they make from them.
Six Flags always mentions conservation during their shows, posts signs about conservation and has leaflets about conservation, but their actions do not match their words. Conservation is not taking endangered animals from the wild or killing endangered animals when they are of no use anymore. All of the elephants that have been at Six Flags have been captured from the wild except one who died within six months of his arrival. Eight of the dolphins at Six Flags have also been taken from their families in the wild, a devastating experience for such a social species. Only one dolphin was "rescued," and it is not much of a rescue when the handlers use outdated, abusive training techniques to train him.