Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Controversial Elephant Trainer Drops Industry Accreditation

Posted: 20 March 2014. Updated: 20 March 2014

Controversial elephant trainer Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) has announced that it is no longer certified under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 2011, leading animal protection organization Animal Defenders International (ADI) revealed HTWT workers beating elephants and shocking them with stun guns. Following new guidelines by the AZA which advise limited contact between humans and elephants in line with modern elephant husbandry, HTWT has sought and gained accreditation through the Zoological Association of America.

ADI President, Jan Creamer, “The elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel are forced to perform through fear and violence and people up and down the country have been horrified to see the behind-the-scenes violence we exposed in our video. Clearly, this company has no intention of changing its ways. We call on event organizers and the public not to support the suffering of these animals – don’t use Have Trunk Will Travel for rides or events.”

HTWT is based in Perris, CA and supplies trained elephants for parades, rides, advertisements and movies. The company has previously supplied elephants for Water for Elephants, Zookeeper and Britney Spears’ music video “Circus.”

After ADI released the findings of its investigation at HTWT, elephant experts around the world were quick to condemn the entertainment company. ADI’s investigation at HTWT found:

  • Elephants repeatedly given electric shocks with hand-held stun guns
  • An elephant crying out when being shocked into performing a headstand
  • Elephants beaten around the body and legs with elephant hooks
  • A baby elephant is hooked in the lip and cries out
  • An elephant pinned with bullhooks while her tusks are sawn down, close to the bone

ADI has appealed to county fair and town event organizers all over the US to end the use of abused animals for public entertainment, with the campaign spearheaded in a graphic PSA, “No Fun for Elephants,” narrated by Bob Barker.

Twenty-five countries around the world have national restrictions on the use of performing animals, yet the US is one of the few developed countries that leaves animals unprotected.


ADI undercover footage at HTWT
International experts react to ADI’s findings at HTWT
UT San Diego “Board to reconsider fair elephant rides”
Bob Barker “No Fun For Elephants” PSA
Jorja Fox “Stop Circus Suffering” PSA
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA)

To date, ADI has ended elephant rides at:

  • Bristol Renaissance Faire
  • Grays Harbor County Fair
  • Jaycees Gregg County Fair
  • Lake Renaissance Festival
  • Upland Lemon Festival
  • Los Angeles County Fair
  • Orange County Fair
  • Fountain Valley Easter event
  • Santa Ana Zoo
  • Sierra Madre Independence Day parade


Lori De Waal +1 323-462-4122
ADI Media Desk +1 323-804-9920

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 the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

© Animal Defenders International 2019