Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

VICTORY TRUMPETS for No Fun for Elephants campaign

Posted: 27 October 2015. Updated: 10 November 2015

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ADI’s No Fun for elephants campaign is racking up victories and shining light on the hidden abuse of elephants forced to give rides and performances!

The ‘No Fun for Elephants’ video, narrated by Emmy award-winning TV legend Bob Barker, is the centerpiece of our education pack sent to fair boards, CEOs, and managers at venues known to host elephants. The ADI undercover footage shows elephants with Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) of Perris, CA and Trunks and Humps of Conroe, TX being beaten and electric shocked. The same trainers are shown controlling elephants in public for rides and parades.

In California, the Kern, San Diego and Nevada County Fairs have all ended elephant rides after protracted, hard-fought campaigns where ADI worked closely with local advocates to educate the boards and staff that elephant rides are not safe for animals or the public – see Kern County campaign report. The Los Angeles based Curacao department store has also severed ties with
HTWT after ADI presented evidence and hosted outreach for two years outside their annual Children’s Fair.

A vigilant supporter alerted ADI when an HTWT elephant was used in a wedding ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, despite a 12-year-old city prohibition of wild animal performances. ADI’s complaints resulted in a citation for the hotel and a commitment from city leaders and hotel management to uphold the ordinance.

Wherever Trunks and Humps arrives with their elephants – Krissy, Paige and Jean – ADI is there. We team up with local supporters and organizations to pressure event organizers to end the elephant rides with local publicity, letters and presentations and our No Fun for Elephants campaign
leaflets and signs. This year we have targeted, among others, the Arizona Renaissance Festival in Apache Junction, Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, TX, the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur and we are currently working with the Animal Rights Coalition to protest at the Minnesota
Renaissance Festival in Shakopee.

ADI is urging Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA to end their elephant rides supplied by HTWT. While most zoos in the US have long abandoned elephant rides, Southwick’s Zoo is moving backwards. HTWT is no longer certified under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, whose new guidelines require that human contact with elephants be protected by a safe barrier in line with modern husbandry. HTWT was cited by the USDA in 2012 while providing rides at the Central States Fair in
Rapid City, South Dakota, for failing to keep a resting elephant under proper control and supervision. ADI videotaped incidents at multiple venues where HTWT staff left an elephant unattended.

Take Action! Send a polite email to Southwick’s Zoo Director Betsey Brewer and urge her to discontinue their elephant rides.

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VICTORY: No more rides at Kern County Fair

Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) has pulled out of further appearances at the Kern County Fair. ADI petitioned for years alongside local advocates and provided the Kern County Fair Board with photographic and video evidence of HTWT’s abuse of elephants.

ADI’s video evidence revealed HTWT owners and trainers beating and shocking elephants 168 times, as well as inadequate supervision at various California venues, including the Kern County Fairgrounds. ADI photographed an HTWT elephant brought to a board meeting and left unattended!

This victory came after years where the board, save one supportive member, Mark Salvaggio, was unmoved by the clear evidence; one cattle rancher board member likened the shocking of elephants to his cattle prods. ADI persevered, gathering testimony from elephant trainers, humane groups,
veterinarians and others. We attended board meetings and organized outreach with local advocates during fairs in 2012, 2013 and 2014, standing outside to educate fairgoers and gathering 3,000 signatures asking the board to cancel the rides.

Finally after Governor Jerry Brown replaced several board members whose appointments had expired, the new board decided to phase out its HTWT contract over two years. Surprisingly, HTWT chose not to return this year claiming alleged threats from activists were the reason, however these claims were discredited by the Fair CEO Mike Olcott, who said the activists have always been peaceful.

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