Elephant moves debris after Missouri tornado

After the massive storm that destroyed lives and homes in Joplin last week, one pachyderm lends a hand

Published May 31, 2011 9:32PM (EDT)

Uplifting or animal abuse?
Uplifting or animal abuse?

With 29 people still missing and over 5,000 homes and businesses destroyed after a tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., last week, the city's residents are still trying to put their lives back in order. While doing some relief work, a volunteer happened to catch on camera an elephant from the Piccadilly circus being used to help move cars and other large debris.

Via Videogum:

Since I understand that some people may see a circus elephant being tied to a car and dragging it along the street in a different light than I do, the only thing that seemed fair was to show both sides of the arguments. So here you go, courtesy of the least expletive-using commenters on the YouTube page:

From sohcsarewicked:

The company that owns these elephants abuses them, shame on anyone here who approves of this._ This circus can't even get a license anymore in its own home town because of cruelty.

From PalmerG08:

one of the most devastating natural disasters in fifty_ years killing hundreds of human beings and the circus brings an elephant around to move some shit around and the first thing that ran across someones mind is animal abuse? seriously? shame on you.

So: animal abuse or not? I'd like to think putting elephants to work clearing rubble is better than putting them in the circus, but maybe that's a separate issue entirely. Discuss!

Also: Her's a link to the Red Cross where you can donate to the victims of the tornado, as well as a link to donate to CAPS, the Captive Animal Protection Society.

By Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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