Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Elephant rides halted in Orange County, LA County and Fountain Valley

Posted: 28 August 2012. Updated: 22 March 2013


ADI is steadily sweeping Southern California clean of elephant abuse, with one location after another severing ties with Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), a performing elephant provider ADI caught on camera beating and using stun guns on the animals. In our last issue, we reported the City of Santa Ana ended over 25-years of elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo and the town of Sierra Madre had canceled a parade appearance by HTWTs Tai, after being presented with our footage of her being electric shocked and beaten.

Pictured: Kari Johnson, co-owner of Have Trunk Will travel, watches in silence as the Orange County Fair Board sees video of her beating an elephant. After viewing the shocking ADI video, the Fair Board voted 6 to 1 to end the elephant rides.

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The victories keep coming as The Los Angeles County Fair recently ended the elephant rides after seeing our evidence of brutal training.

Fountain Valley Recreation Center decided against elephant rides from HTWT for their Easter celebration after ADI shared the video and reminded city leaders that the rides are prohibited by a county ordinance.

In March, the Orange County Fair Board voted by six votes to one to end elephant rides. ADI led a coalition of experts, organizations and concerned citizens to speak up for Tai, Becky, Rosie, Kitty and Dixie at the Board meeting. We presented undercover video showing HTWT owners and trainers hitting and hooking elephants with bullhooks and shocking them with stun guns.


Bob Barker (Pictured, with his friend Federico) sent an impassioned plea to the Fair Board: I hope you are as appalled as I am at what this video depicts: elephants repeatedly shocked with hand-held stun guns, the cries of an elephant being shocked into performing a headstand, and elephants struck on the body and legs with bullhooks. Even the baby elephant does not escape this cruel training. At a time when we are fighting to save highly endangered Asian elephants from extinction, offering them for rides sends the wrong message about how we treat our planets rare and vanishing species. We should be ashamed of ourselves as human beings to know that such misery is inflicted on these highly intelligent and self-aware animals for something as frivolous as rides.


Over 100 people made up the standing-room-only crowd spilling into the lobby. For four hours the Board heard about the brutal training of elephants and the tragic consequences when wild animals under duress are placed in close proximity to the public.

Pictured: Elephant rides at the San Diego Fair.

The Board meeting was attended by ADI President and co-founder Jan Creamer (organized HTWT investigation and can authenticate the video) and Campaigns Director Matt Rossell, taking our example of a bullhook and stun gun, similar to those used by HTWT in ADIs footage. Matt presented the evidence and after a long day, the Board voted to stop the rides.

The OC Fair Board has set a positive example for other events in the area that still offer elephant rides provided by HTWT, such as Kern County and the Lemon Festival, which we hope will follow their lead.

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