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(From Mail & Guardian (South Africa) - AAGM)
Byline: Fiona Macleod
Four young elephants are plucked from their families and their homes in the African bush. They are drugged and shunted to various institutions before being dumped unceremoniously on the tarmac at Johannesburg International airport.
Their destination? A park near Mexico City that pulls in the crowds by staging bullfights and that wants to use the elephants as an extra drawcard for gawkers.
Before they leave for Mexico, their journey takes them from a provincial game reserve in North West province to a hunting outfit hundreds of kilometres away, and then to the quarantine facilities of a wildlife dealer near Pretoria. When they arrive at Johannesburg International in the middle of the night, the private aeroplane chartered to take them overseas has developed technical problems and they have to hang around the noisy airfield for almost 20 hours.
Finally they leave for Mexico, standing in tight-fitting crates that only allow them to move one metre forwards or backwards. After a flight of more than 12 hours, they arrive in North …