Nearly three years ago, it was revealed that the elephant on the set of "Water For Elephants," the 2011 commercial film starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, was allegedly abused on set, electrocuted and beaten to perform on camera. Now, the company that provided the elephant, Have Trunk Will Travel, has announced that they've dropped their accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), leading some in the animal welfare community to believe that the relationship soured over the cruelty allegations.
The company has denied that AZA rescinded their accreditation, and maintains that no cruelty occurred on set. Similarly, the American Humane Association -- which monitors the welfare of animals used in entertainment and issues the famous "No Animals Were Harmed" label at the end of movies -- has also denied that elephant abuse occurred during the filming of "Water For Elephants," which received the AHA stamp of approval.
But companies like Have Trunk Will Travel are only the tip of the iceberg, according to a lengthy and troubling exposé that The Hollywood Reporter released about AHA last year. The report suggests that harm to animals happens on set all the time, and raises serious questions about the state of oversight on Hollywood sets.