No Elephants Rides at This Year's San Diego County Fair
An Animal Rights Article from


Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Animal Defenders International (ADI)
March 2014

VICTORY: See original alert - Stop Elephant Rides at San Diego County Fair

From Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS):

Two great wins in just one week! First we told you about the Los Angeles Shriners replacing its animal circus with a carnival this year. Now we are very pleased to announce that the San Diego County Fair will not feature elephant rides this year!

PAWS partnered with the Orange County Affiliate of the League of Humane Voters-California and local advocates and organizations for this victory. We have all campaigned against the rides for years, and were the only presence at recent San Diego County Fair board meetings presenting testimony and providing critical new information demonstrating that elephant ride provider, Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), could not comply with a new safety policy that the board considered to be important. 

"This is a great win for the elephants that has been a long time coming," said PAWS president and co-founder, Ed Stewart. "Elephant rides send the wrong message to people about how we treat the Earth's endangered species. These rides promote nothing but disrespect for elephants at a time when we need to get serious about saving them in the wild."

Have Trunk Will Travel Kari Johnson claims that the company made the decision not to attend the Fair, but her excuses ring hollow. PAWS and our partners will continue to monitor the Fair board and ensure that the elephant rides are a thing of the past.

Alison Stanley, Director of the Orange County Affiliate of the League of Humane Voters of California, stated: "I am extremely pleased that this is the first time in decades that county fairs in Southern California will not support elephant cruelty by offering elephant rides. Elephant rides have no place at the San Diego County Fair or anywhere else."

"Stopping the rides was a team effort and all our hard work paid off for the elephants," said PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, who has testified at several Fair board meetings. "Elephant rides are outdated, unsafe and inhumane, and PAWS will continue to campaign against elephants rides until every single one of these cruel attractions is shut down."

Our sincere thanks to all of our supporters who stood by us at Fair board meetings, signed petitions, wrote letters and sent emails. 

From Animal Defenders International (ADI):

BREAKING NEWS: ADI is thrilled to announce that Have Trunk Will Travel will not be bringing elephant rides back to San Diego County Fair 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.

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 elephants being beaten and electric shocked with stun guns during routine husbandry and training. [Watch Shock Electric - Animal Cruelty by Have Trunk Will Travel] 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 voiced concern about the risks the rides pose to public safety.

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

How you can help!

ADI relies on undercover evidence to secure victories like ending the elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair. Your donation will help keep our investigators in the field and exposing the abuses.

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