Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Elephant Ride Company Owner Says They Are Not Returning To San Diego County Fair

Posted: 28 March 2014. Updated: 28 March 2014

The controversial Riverside elephant provider, Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), announced today that they will not be bringing elephants back to San Diego County Fair for rides this year. In an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune today, HTWT co-owner Kari Johnson cited the breeding schedule of one of their elephants and other non-specific reasons, stating “…a lot of different… different things that all came together to make it not a great time for us to come to the fair this year.” The company has been at the San Diego County Fair for the past 29 years offering elephant rides.

ADI Campaigns Director, Matt Rossell stated, “The elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel are forced to perform through fear and violence and it is a huge relief to hear that they are not coming back to the San Diego County Fair this year. We are proud of the compassionate local citizens who have protested and spoken at fair board meetings alongside ADI, and we have no doubt these efforts made the difference in bringing these abusive rides to an end.”

ADI’s undercover investigation of HTWT, released in 2011, revealed shocking abuse, showing video evidence of elephants being beaten and electric shocked with stun guns during routine husbandry and training. ADI has been in contact with the San Diego Fair Board for several years, presenting our footage and urging the Board to cancel the elephant rides. Other venues such as the Los Angeles and Orange County Fairs, and the Santa Ana Zoo have severed ties with HTWT after seeing ADI’s evidence. The San Diego Fair Board was set to review their decision to continue the rides following the 2014 fair, and some board members have voiced concern about public safety.

This news also comes on the heels of the recent announcement that HTWT is no longer certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


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 323-462-4122
ADI Media Desk 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.

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