A circus elephant is helping to move debris and rubble left behind in the tornado-hit city of Joplin, Missouri.

The elephant, from the Piccadilly Circus, has been helping with the clean-up effort following last week’s raft of tornadoes which killed at least 142 people.

The circus was due to perform a show in the city, but it was cancelled following the disaster.

One circus employee told CBS: “We were scheduled to play here. The arena we were playing in is now the hospital.

“We thought it’s either take the day off or give a hand to the people who really need it.”

Joplin tornado kills 116 – video, pictures

One local girl said: “I haven’t smiled like this in a long time.”

Here’s the elephant “assisting in teh Joplin clean up”


But other Joplin residents think it’s sad that the animal is doing such arduous work.

“It’s sad that they would put an animal through it. It’s probably scared and the chances of him freaking out…I mean you never know, and it is also exploiting the animal.”

Another said: “It’s sad that they would put an animal through it. I think it’s dangerous for the people standing so near the elephant.”

What do you think? Is it fair to make an elephant drag debris in the Joplin clean-up? And should elephants be used as circus entertainment in the first place?

Here’s what animal rights group PETA has to say about it: peta.org.uk