What would you do if you knew … elephant mom with baby, poem for all captured and abused elephants

That I was ripped from family when I was just small

Lassoed with ropes and dragged away in a cloud of dust

As my mother cried out with such agony

That you could hear her heart shattering into a million pieces

She tried to save me with all of her might

baby elephant, alone, crying, poem for all captured and abused elephantsSwinging her trunk violently and charging at the capturers

But with their whips, and ropes, and weapons, and trucks

She was overpowered and helpless to stop the kidnapping

“Mama!” I cried out desperately after her

As they forced me into the back of a truck and drove away

I watched as my mother chased after the truck until her legs gave way

This would be the last time I ever saw her

Frightened, confused, and alone, I had no idea what was going to happen to me next

And all of this before my first birthday

What would you do if you knew …

That I was forced into a wooden cage

So tight the wooden beams scraped my skin

And all four of my legs were bound with ropes so that I could not move

For the next two days

I stayed like this, starved and without water

As men took turns beating me with clubs and hooks

Driving the pointed metal into my skull

And striking me in my most sensitive parts

Behind the thin skin on my ears and behind my knees and elbows

My own blood stinging my eyes and blinding me

From seeing what blow was coming next

mistreated elephant, poem for all captured and abused elephants

“Mama! Mama!” I cried out again.

“Please make them stop! They’re hurting me!”

But my pleas fell on deaf ears

My mother was hundreds of miles away and there was nothing she could do

Tears streamed from eyes

As I tried to understand what I had done wrong

To deserve such a horrible punishment

 

What would you do if you knew …

That I desperately struggled

To stay strong as they hit my trunk

My most sensitive body part

Repeatedly with their clubs until I could no longer raise it up

And it hung lifelessly in front of me

I tried to keep my head up and fight against my abusers

But the pain was too great

I was no match for their weapons and relentless torture

And after two days of agony

Dehydrated, starved, and beatenabused elephant, poem for all captured and abused elephants

I broke

My swollen legs no longer able to hold me up

I collapsed to the ground in a puddle of my own blood

My eyes glazed over and my will to live was gone

From that day on, I would no longer be the elephant I once was

A vibrant, playful, happy baby just starting to explore the world

No, that was no longer going to be my life

And that was no longer going to be me

My world was dark now

I was a slave and viewed as nothing more than property

A source of money to the men who stole me from my family

Without remorse and without conscience

 

What would you do if you knew …

That for the next several months

I was forced to learn tricks for hours without breaks

mistreated and abused circus elephant, poem for all captured, abused and mistreated elephants

Riding, and painting, and standing on my hind legs

The bull hook always in view

A constant reminder of what would happen to me if I made a mistake

My body ached from the unnatural movements they forced me to do

And after hours without water and food

As the hot sun beat down on my back and burned my skin

I faltered in my training and fell onto the hard ground with a thud

Not even a second passed by

 mistreated and abused circus elephant, poem for all abused, captured and mistreated elephants

Before the point of the bull hook came down on my body

Stabbing my flesh repeatedly

Until I once again rose to my feet

To do another several hours of training

My reward for a long day of work

Being shackled with heavy chains around both of my front feet

And chained to a post so short I could not even take one step

I would not be given dinner tonight

Punishment for falling down during my training

 

What would you do if you knew …

That I was kept in these shackles for hours, days

Sometimes weeks on end

Only getting breaks from my chained, pathetic existence

When my capturers needed me to perform

Once I had made them enough money

My shackles were once again put around

my ankles

chained captured elephant, mistreated and abused, poem for all captured, mistreated and abused elephants

Unable to move, isolated, and alone

I began rocking back and forth violently

My intelligent mind going crazy with lack of stimulation

My body, designed to walk for miles a day in the wild

Began to wither and become stiff from lack of movement

And the ground I stood on was so hard and unforgiving

My sensitive feet throbbed

I was often sick to my stomach

From lack of nutritious food

And of course

Always lived in fear of my next beating

 

What would you do if you knew …

circus elephant, mistreated and abused, poem for all captured, mistreated and abused elephants

This was my life

That I was tortured and beaten

So that I could perform for you

That I was denied any basic pleasures in life

So that I could paint pictures for you

That I was denied my rights as a living, breathing creature

So that I could give you a ride on my back

That I was denied love, companionship, and joy

So that I could entertain you

That I was denied friendship and my family

So that you could take a picture with me

And share it with your family and friends later

 

What would you do if you knew …

That this was my life

That I would die here, a shell of my former self

Alone, abused, and broken

… Would you still want to ride me?

Or go to my shows?

Or would you stand up for me and tell all that you know

Not to support these things

… Would you fight to set me free?

What will you do now that you know?

sad elephant, poem for all captured, mistreated and abused elephants

Written By: Rachel Lassman April 30, 2018