Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI urges Southwick’s Zoo to cancel elephant rides

Posted: 11 July 2015


The notorious Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) has trucked elephants Rosie and Tai across the US to Massachusetts to be used for rides at the Southwick’s Zoo over the summer.

ADI has shared with the zoo’s director video evidence showing HTWT owners and trainers beating and shocking their elephants during routine training, and chaining them for 12 hours a day. The disturbing footage shows:

  • Owners and trainers using stun guns and beating animals with bull hooks
  • HTWT boss Kari Johnson viciously striking an elephant
  • A baby elephant being hit over the head and dragged by the trunk
  • Elephants chained by the legs barely able to take one step back and forward (the elephants were being chained from 6:30pm to 6:30am, 12 hours a day)

While most zoos in the US have long abandoned elephant rides, the Southwick’s Zoo is moving backwards by hosting these abused elephants. HTWT is no longer certified under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose new guidelines advise limited contact between humans and elephants in line with modern elephant 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 the direct control and supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced animal handler.” ADI has since videotaped incidents at multiple venues where HTWT staff left an elephant unattended.

Take action!

  • Send a polite email or make a call to Southwick’s Zoo Director Betsey Brewer and urge her to discontinue their elephant rides. Email: Phone: 1-800-258-9182 x:209
  • Rosie and Tai are scheduled to be at the zoo until the end of August. If you live in the area and are available to leaflet and protest outside the zoo please contact ADI right away at or 323-935-2234 and we will send materials out to you.
  • Please help ADI expose and highlight the suffering of elephants used for rides

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