TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW is one of those gut-wrenching animal welfare documentaries that rightfully argues that humans are scum. It presents a tragic story of human arrogance and a cruelty that is hard to comprehend. Using an incredible amount of real footage, Australian directors Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore explore Tykes story through first-hand accounts and witness testimony. Former handlers, patrons from the event and people from both sides of the Animal Welfare debate provide personal stories that reveal the savageness that took place behind the striped curtain.
We see barbaric beatings, insufferable conditions and the psychological torment of these majestic animals and yet there are still those unfathomable humans who ague that it's all in the name of “fun”. How these cretins can front-up and argue their case to camera is beyond me. They personify human stupidity and there's no other way to put it. And of all the former handlers and circus workers only one shows any signs of remorse. She tears up and confesses that there's a special place in Hell reserved for her. All of the others argue that they “loved” their animals and truly believe that they treated the creatures well.
The film doesn't break any new ground, nor is it trying to. It is a simple account of one elephant's story, using it's last day alive as the foundation. Possibly funded by animal welfare groups (I didn't follow the credits) it is a film about education and awareness. It had a clear and rightful agenda and it succeeds in drawing attention to a practice that is still performed in some parts of the world. The film's narrative is simple and clear. All of the featured people are given equal time and opportunity to speak freely to define their position, and at no point do the filmmakers set out to demonise anyone. They let the subjects to that themselves, and it is the industry that takes the full brunt of the film's bias... again, rightfully so.
Tyke was a gorgeous animal. A highly intelligence creature of the wild who decided, on that fateful day, that she was done with humans. She broke free of her oppressors and chose to be an elephant. It is a breathtaking display of courage, defiance and basic animal instinct... and for that she is clearly the hero of this film. May her story continue to change the world.