Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Nevada County Fair Board Puts Elephant Ride Contract Back on Agenda

Posted: 16 July 2013. Updated: 16 July 2013

July 15, 2013, GRASS VALLEY, CA – Due to public concern over elephant training practices at Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), caught on video by Animal Defenders International (ADI), the Nevada County Fair Board has put their elephant ride contract with HTWT back on the agenda for this week’s board meeting, where ADI will be present to again give Board Members the opportunity to answer questions about the video. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 4:00pm.

ADI’s undercover investigation of HTWT, taken over an eight week period, resulted in nearly 10 hours of footage and shows elephants being repeatedly beaten and electric shocked with stun guns during routine handling and training. Nine minutes of footage has been made available online, providing an overview of the key acts of violence, including 168 hooks, hits, jabs and electric shocks:

Following the disappointing decision at last month’s meeting by the Fair Board to maintain their contract with Have Trunk Will Travel and offer elephant rides at this year’s fair, public outcry has made headlines throughout the community, leading the Fair Board to put the subject of their elephant ride contract back on this week’s meeting agenda.

ADI has written to the Board and sent copies of the video evidence, offering to meet with individual Board Members to answer any questions about the video and address misinformation about the evidence and answer any questions. However Board Members have refused such meetings. ADI Campaigns Director, Matt Rossell, will be available to meet with Board Members to show more footage and explain the details of ADI’s investigation at any time on Monday July 15 and will attend the Fair Board meeting on Tuesday July 16 to answer any questions about the footage.

“ADI’s footage is professionally collected and detailed and has been used in courts to secure convictions around the world” says Rossell. “It is shameful that Have Trunk Will Travel is making false claims about our footage being doctored to cover up their abusive practices, and we urge the Fair Board and the community not to be misled and to take a closer look.”

ADI Discusses Elephant Abuse Evidence at Nevada County Fair Board Meeting
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 4:00pm
Ponderosa Hall of the Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Road
Grass Valley, CA 95949


Film and photographs of animals in circuses are available from ADI.

ADI Media Desk: 323-804-9920 e:
At event: Matt Rossell, ADI Campaigns Director, 503-890-5151

About Animal Defenders International

With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.

ADI’s Undercover Investigation of Animal Trainers Have Trunk Will Travel
Animal Defenders International released shocking footage from our 8-week undercover investigation of Have Trunk Will Travel, where elephants used in the movies Water for Elephants, Zookeeper, Britney Spears’ circus video and many other ads, shows and live performances were trained. The footage shows the animals being beaten and electric shocked with stun guns to perform the tricks seen in the movies and other performances, including:

  • Have Trunk Will Travel owners and trainers using stuns guns and beating animals with bull hooks
  • Have Trunk Will Travel 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)

Click here to see the footage, or visit

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