Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Nevada County Fair Board keeps elephant contract, despite evidence of suffering

Posted: 17 July 2013. Updated: 17 July 2013

July 17, 2013, GRASS VALLEY, CA Ė Animal Defenders International (ADI) is disappointed to learn that, for the second time, the Nevada County Fair Board has decided to proceed with plans to offer elephant rides at this yearís event. Public concern over training practices at Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), caught on video by Animal Defenders International (ADI), caused the Fair Board to revisit their elephant ride contract with HTWT during yesterdayís Board meeting. Rejecting the evidence and concerns raised by hundreds of residents both in person and in writing, the Fair Board insisted on upholding their elephant ride contract.

ADIís 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:

After seeing ADIís footage, residents of Grass Valley and surrounding areas were outraged to learn that HTWTís elephant rides would be offered at this yearís fair. Ignoring the concerns of the public and the evidence presented, the Board upheld their earlier decision.

Matt Rossell, ADI Campaigns Director gave evidence at the meeting and has attempted to meet with Board Members, without success. Rossell said, “We are disappointed that the Board is moving forward with the elephant rides without a thorough review of our video evidence that shows these elephants being beaten and electric shocked. We will be on hand during the fair to share our evidence, so that people know the real cost to these elephants of what appears to be a few minutes of harmless fun.Ē


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

ADI Media Desk: 323-804-9920 e:

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.

ADIís 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 Spearsí 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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