Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI Works to End Elephant Rides at the San Diego Fair

Posted: 5 July 2011. Updated: 24 January 2013


Animal Defenders International (ADI) is campaigning to end elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair, after the release of our footage showing Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) owners and trainers hitting and shocking elephants at their Perris, California compound.

Since releasing our undercover footage of HTWT, ADI has helped secure the end of elephant rides at Orange County Fair, LA County Fair, Upland Lemon Festival, Santa Ana Zoo, and the cities of Fountain Valley, and Sierra Madre.

Now the campaign has expanded to include efforts to educate leaders at the San Diego County Fair, where HTWT is also contracted to provide elephant rides.

In June 2011, ADI’s US Campaigns Director, Matt Rossell traveled to San Diego to attend the San Diego Fair Board of Directors meeting and deliver ADI’s video evidence of HTWT’s cruel treatment of their elephants, asking the board to cancel elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair. ADI is working in coalition with other animal protection groups to end the rides.

During this meeting, then-president of the San Diego County Fair Board Barry Nussbaum directed his staff to investigate the allegations, but despite the public controversy, the board and staff have decided to proceed with allowing elephant rides at the fair.

ADI is taking a leadership role in organizing peaceful protests against the elephant rides. During the fair, ADI spearheaded several successful outreach events, helping participants educate thousands of area residents through the widespread media coverage!

The Coast News ran a story about our presence at the meeting, and the Del Mar Times covered it as well.

San Diego’s ABC affiliate, 10 News also ran this story, where Kari Johnson, co-owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, finally spoke to the press about the undercover abuse footage. She surprisingly admits, “We saw the video footage and agree that it looks terrible.” She also said, “It is our people and our elephants in the footage…” but also claims things were taken out of context. We are compelled to ask, however, in what context is it okay to violently beat, electric-shock and “hook” elephants with bullhooks?

Fox 5 in San Diego ran a great story before the first demonstration, and then followed up with another story the next night.

And this Union Tribune online article appeared Sunday June 12, 2011, and in the Monday, June 13, 2011 print edition.

ADI is continuing to contact event organizers nationwide to discuss our HTWT footage, urging them to cancel existing elephant ride contracts and discouraging new contracts. As always, ADI is determined to make a difference for these animals, and with your help, we will.

Please send a polite email to these decision makers today:

Share this link to the video on your Facebook and other social networking sites, to spread the word to family and friends.

Entertainment should never be cruel. Don’t support circuses or other entertainment where animals are used.

© Animal Defenders International 2018