An elephant rented for the Great Oak halftime show last Friday night has caused a stir among students, and other attendees.
Tai the elephant, featured in the film Water for Elephants, was rented to be incorporated into the homecoming theme, "The Circus is Coming." However, after the initial escalation of excitment over the spectacle, previous abuse accusations against the rental company Have Trunk Will Travel have been brought to light.
Video footage from 2011 shows the Have Trunk Will Travel elephants being beaten with bullhooks and electric prods during training. The footage was filmed at the company in Perris, California. Animal rights associations such as PETA reported the abuse at the time the video surfaced.
Many students are disappointed that the school was willing to associate with such a controversial company, while others expressed their appreciation of a grand gesture to make the day more memorable.
Opinions on whether it was an effective move on behalf of the school have quickly polarized.