The owners of the elephants used in Britney Spears' new video CIRCUS have defended the treatment of the animals following criticism from animal rights activists.
The pop superstar came under fire from officials at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who claimed she should have refrained from using the captive exotic creatures in her new promo.
Elephant trainers Gari and Kari Johnson, owners of California-based Have Trunk Will Travel, were responsible for the animals onset and have hit back at PETA's accusations, insisting all of the livestock used in the video were treated well.
Kari Johnson tells MTV.com in a statement, "The American Humane Association monitors animal action in film and television. A representative was on the set of the Britney Spears Circus video with our elephants, Tai and Kitty, to ensure their safety and welfare. "Britney, the director, producers and the entire crew were respectful of the elephants' needs and comfort and a pleasure to work with."
Circus, the title track from Spears' new album, is due for release next year (09).