The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) reports that the criminal case against the directors and management of Elephants of Eden, including Lizette Withers, for cruelty to elephants has been remanded to February 2020.
The NSPCA laid criminal charges in 2014 in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 after receiving horrific footage depicting the cruel and abusive training methods employed to control and train baby and young elephants for their future, captive lives in the elephant-based tourist industry.
The footage had been taken on the premises of Elephants of Eden situated in the Eastern Cape – a property that was defined as a safe haven for elephants and owned by the same entities who own the Knysna Elephant Park.
Withers, along with other accused parties, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court on 9 December 2019 following years of postponements and an application from the accused to the Senior Private Prosecutor to have the matter struck from the roll. Their application was unsuccessful and the matter was postponed to 14 February 2020 in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court.
The NSPCA subscribes to the credo that “wild animals belong in the wild” and is opposed to the removal of elephants from the wild for domestication purposes. We believe that elephants should not be trained, kept in captivity and/or used for entertainment.
The NSPCA appeals to the public to not support any facility that allows interactions with elephants or any other wild animal for that matter – even if the facility is claiming to be a sanctuary for rescued or abused animals. Any ethical wildlife facility would not allow physical interaction with their animals at all.