Robert Pattinson’s adoring elephant Tai in the movie “Water for Elephants” became the subject of a lawsuit after the movie came out, alleging torture was used to teach her tricks. But yesterday the case hit a wall.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, largely on a technicality, sending its plaintiffs back to square one.
Animal rights group Animal Defenders International (ADI), which released a secretly taped video, showing elephants getting electric shocks and being beaten with a bull hook while training, had filed the suit against the elephant’s owners.
Check out Outtakes of Rob and Tai the Elephant
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The elephant in the video reportedly can be heard crying out in pain when she is shocked to make her perform a headstand.
Have Trunk Will Travel, the Perris, Calif. company that owns the elephant, proclaimed victory, but the case never progressed far enough for a hearing on its merits, according to the Los Angeles Times.
ADI members Gail Profant and Leslie Hemstreet said they purchased tickets to the film and used that as a basis to claim standing to bring the suit.
They said they watched the film with the impression that Tai had been treated humanely.
But the federal judge ruled that that the lawsuit failed because plaintiffs failed to show that “any portion” of the ticket price benefitted Have Trunk Will Travel.
Have Trunk owners Gary and Kari Johnson said in a statement they were “thrilled with the result,” but added that defending against “these types of allegations is disheartening,” according to the Times.
Gary Johnson said at the time that no animal was abused in the making of “Water for Elephants,” nor were electric shocks used.
The video was taped in 2005, well before the movie was made and showed just the contrary.
Trainers are also shown sawing off the tusks of an elephant, while a baby is dragged around by its trunk.
Yet another elephant is shown being hooked through the lip.
The animal rights group claims the same trainers pictured in the video also worked with Tai on the movie set.
In the movie, Rob played a sensitive, young veterinarian student who joins a Depression-era circus headed by a cruel animal trainer (Christoph Waltz). Ironically, he uses brutish means to get the animals to perform tricks.
Reese Witherspoon co-starred as the trainer’s wife and Rob’s love interest.
Lawyers for the animal rights group said they were “reviewing their options” in the wake of the ruling.
Check out the disturbing video below: