A Donald Trump rally in Sarasota, FL received a donation from Frank Murray, a circus elephant exhibitor and die-hard Trump fan. Murray allowed the event to use his Asian elephant for free, and the animal’s side was painted to read, “TRUMP: Make America Great Again.”
“I’m doing this for love of America,” said Murray. “I’m a Trump fan. The man knows how to make money. He knows what America is all about and he can get America back on track.”
Murray owns a company called “Elephant Walk,” which travels around the country and rents elephants to circuses, fairs, and other events. Circus elephants are often abused and live under terrible conditions, and are rapidly becoming illegal. Earlier this year, the Ringling Bros. Circus announced they would no longer feature elephants at their shows, which led to Trump tweeting that he would never attend their circus again.
Murray’s elephant rental company is no exception to the history of abuse the animals suffer. Documents show that one of Murray’s elephants died of tuberculosis last year, suggesting that Murray’s elephants are kept in dirty and diseased enclosures.
— Adam Wright (@AdamWINKNews) November 28, 2015
The tuberculosis outbreak is unfortunately only the start of Murray’s long history of animal abuse and cruelty. In 1996, he was charged with four counts of “inflicting unnecessary cruelty towards a living animal and not providing proper sustenance to a living animal.” He evaded the charges for 16 years before finally being arrested in 2011.
The official Facebook page for The Walking Elephant constantly posts messages supporting the bull-hook, a sharp metal stick used to corral elephants. Many states are attempting to ban the extremely painful hook, but The Walking Elephant calls anti-bull-hook legislation “propaganda” from “uneducated extremists.”
Although Murray lost some contracts after the arrest, his business continued to thrive. He has also been cited multiple times by the USDA for improper animal care, but the agency never intervened or followed up on their citations.