Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Don't support elephant abuse, ADI pleads Central States Fair officials

Posted: 31 August 2012. Updated: 31 August 2012

Rapid City, SD, August 21, 2012— Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on Central States Fair officials to join other fairs and cities in Southern California that have severed all ties with elephant ride provider Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), after they were caught on video abusing their elephants.

The Los Angeles and Orange County Fairs, and the cities of Santa Ana, Fountain Valley and Sierra Madre have all recently dropped the elephant rides after ADI released undercover video footage of elephants being beaten and electric shocked during routine husbandry and training at their Perris, California compound.

These same elephants and trainers have offered elephant rides at the Central States Fair which runs through August 26. ADI has written to Fair’s General Manager, Ron Jefferies, urging him to immediately cancel the rides.

In the video:

  • Elephants are repeatedly given electric shocks with hand held shocking devices
  • An elephant cries out when being shocked into performing a headstand
  • Elephants are viciously beaten about the body and legs with bull hooks
  • A baby elephant is hooked in the lip and cries out

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International said, “Have Trunk Will Travel is on the run, traveling across the county to find new venues that are unaware of their cruel treatment of elephants. Central State Fairgoers would not be lining up to ride these elephants if they knew their training involves beatings with bullhooks and electric shock devices, or if they were aware of the serious threat to the safety of their precious children when they put them on the backs of elephants who have been abused.”

Large elephant proof barriers to contain the elephants are visible in the video at Have Trunk Will Travel’s Perris facility. Yet when these animals are in public at fairs, such safety measures are not possible. Keeping powerful, stressed and abused wild animals in small spaces, in dangerously close proximity to crowds of fairgoers is a serious threat to public safety. Numerous incidents where elephants and other wild animals have escaped their handlers have led to disaster; workers and members of the public have been injured and even killed. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has recently updated their policy to protect elephants and their handlers, requiring all AZA accredited zoos to comply with new guidelines where staff will not share the same space with elephants due to the inherent risks involved.

Have Trunk Will Travel supplies the elephants for rides, circuses and appearances in movies such as “Water for Elephants” and “Zookeeper.”

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