20th Century Fox posted this statement on the official Water for Elephants Facebook page today.
(Click to enlarge)
Entire official statement sent to the press:
“A central message of Water for Elephants is the condemnation of cruelty towards animals. Twentieth Century Fox feels strongly that we have taken every step to ensure that the film, while portraying the perception of animal abuse (often through digital effects), held in utmost importance the proper care and humane treatment of all animals involved in the production. Fox and the filmmakers behind Water for Elephants are disturbed and saddened by the video being circulated that purportedly shows the elephant Tai being mistreated several years ago. We are strongly opposed to violence against animals, humans or any creatures.
“Fox is compelled to point out that this video was NOT taken during the training for, or production of, our film, and neither Tai nor any other animal performer in the film was harmed in any way during the making of this film. In fact, the organization circulating this video claims it was taken in 2005, which was at least five years before the movie went into production and at least a year before the book on which the movie is based was even published. Moreover, a representative from the American Humane Association was on set and monitored every instance in which animals were used and can confirm that no animals, including Tai, were mistreated in any way," the statement concludes.
Animals Defenders International released the disturbing video that prompted the response from Fox. You can see it at their site. The longer version with quotes from experts is also now available.
During the filming of Water for Elephants, the American Humane Association closely monitored the shoot, to make sure no animals were harmed during production. You can read their statement here.
Late this afternoon, Have Trunk Will Travel (Tai's trainers) issued their response to the video. What they had to say, at waterforelephantsfilm.com.
We will keep you posted as new information comes in.