Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Picadilly Circus - Joplin MO Tornado Disaster Relief


"JOPLIN, Mo.— The Picadilly Circus is in Joplin, Mo. They decided to help with tornado cleanup by using highly trained elephants to move heavy debris. Photojournalist Matt Hensley video essay shows how residents booed and cheered the group's efforts."

"Elephant aides in disaster cleanup efforts"
Courtesy of

Two comments, largely differing in their views, first appeared with this article. The first was followed by several rebuttals regarding Ms. Shenker's disagreement with the disaster relief aid from the circus.

PattyShenker at 10:49 AM May 30, 2011:
This publicity spin for the circus disgusts me. Using abused animals, and yes ALL elephants in circuses are abused, severely and repeatedly, to clean up the abuse that nature bestowed on Joplin, is just so wrong on every level. My heart went out to the residents of Joplin until i read this; now my heart goes out to the poor elephants. Residents should be able to relate to these pachyderms, who have also lost everything, and the educated, compassionate ones do but the others... Please boycott all circuses with wild animals!

rankno at 1:05 PM May 30, 2011:
Elephants in a circus or elephants helping tornado victims are two completely different issues. If the victims of this tornado would be so rude as to boo the people and animals trying to help, this may be a broader indication of how ungrateful some people can be. Maybe all the volunteers should just help those who recognize the difference and appreciate the help and let all the ingrates fend for themselves. I find it hard to believe that tornado victims needing help would be so rude and disrespectful so it is possible that only idiots like PattyShenker have the time on their hands to put the elephants needs ahead of the tornado victims. Patty's desire to help the elephants is expressed at the wrong time and place.

ambermonkey at 4:54 PM May 30, 2011:
It always agrivates me when people put animals above human life. To say that you don't feel sorry for the tornado victims becasue elephants are cleaning up is completely insane. I feel bad for the tornado victims (some of which I know) as well as PattyShenker and her obvious need for professional help. I can only assume that Patty is a complete sociopath to say "My heart went out to the residents of Joplin until i read this."

LittleBrother at 7:46 AM May 31, 2011:
At least the elephants were pulling their weight, which is more than can be observed of those doing the complaining. If the circus had used their trucks to pull the car out of the debris, the same people probably would have complained about the diesel fumes destroying the planet. At least the elephants are green - and doing work they often do in India and Africa... For those complaining about the elephants -get your boots and gloves, head to Joplin and take their place! (pulling the debris, not doing tricks for kids...)



  1. Radar,
    If it was Picadilly Circus, we can probably expect a different kind of disaster to be coming. What a sad attempt at free publicity, absolutely nothing else, except capitalizing on the misfortune of others? Note they aren't even using a pulling harness, but rather jury rigged web "harness", likely bought from an autos supply store or a Walmart, tied around the elephants neck, not on it's shoulders/chest where the "pull" should occur. Good thing they watched the elephant close, as that material, if it had gotten under her front elbow or between her back legs, would have burned her. It is real hard sometimes not to be embarrassed at the amateur action's of supposed "professionals." Every time you think the industries eye can't get any blacker, somebody come's up with something like this.......

    Wade Burck

  2. ChandlerMay 31, 2011

    Yeh it wasn't a publicity stunt. They didn't just bring elephants out, move some cars and call it a day. My friend and I were out there at 9am, cleaning up, when a group of around 10 people showed up from the circus and asked if they could help. They spent a couple hours helping pile debris, a few of them stepping on nails in the process cause they only had tennis shoes. It was several hours before the elephant showed up, for all of 30 minutes. Everyone around was smiling. It was a welcome sight after all the destruction and devastation.

  3. Wade has some valid points and I hope they where careful with the elephant. However, my daughter volunteered there last weekend and said television doesn't really show how bad the destruction is. Maybe the elephant really did some good useful work. You know it probably brightened a few peoples day. Hope somebody wasn't following the animal handing out kids free coupons.

  4. tanglefootJune 05, 2011

    Obvious it was a PR attempt for PUB. Not having a harness and the stupid way it is put on. A few knots in the right places would have made for some sort of hasrness even on both sides. For an elephant to try to do any worthwehile pulling in that get up is ludicruss. I would expect her to BUGABOO. She should not have been walking around on that awful debrie under any conditions.

  5. Tang,
    Welcome to the new kid on the block. Well said, kinda. :)
    Wade Burck

  6. Mr. Herriott,
    Thank you for visiting and commenting. To a trainer with an extensive history in the elephant business, I hope you will share some of your stories and knowledge here in the company of Wade, Jim and Steve, along with a few other contributors that have an interest in the animal business.

  7. Posted to Jamie's Clubb's blog, author of "The Legend of Salt and Sauce:"

    "A very nice post, Jamie. I posted too regarding the tornado disaster relief effort, though I was only illustrating the vast spectrum of comments at different news articles with coverage of the event. I am going to post a link to your article from mine with the hopes more people can gain a greater appreciation for the history of elephant labor to assist mankind. As a side note, the last big top circus in America to raise the tent via elephant power daily is ours here at Kelly Miller."

    Jamie's post referencing the Joplin Tornado Disaster Relief with the aid of the Picadilly Circus:



I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.