Second Chance To Stop Elephant Rides
At The Nevada County Fair! 


In our last PAWS ALERT we informed you that the board of directors of the Nevada County Fair, located in Grass Valley, California, upheld its contract for elephant rides, despite an overwhelming number of objections from the public during its June board meeting. PAWS president, Ed Stewart, and Catherine Doyle, PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, both presented testimony at the meeting. 


We have a second chance to stop the rides, as the Fair's board of directors will revisit this controversial issue at its next meeting on July 16th, a move that is very encouraging. If you live in the area, please attend the meeting and, if you can, express your opposition to the rides during public comment.



What: Nevada County Fair, Meeting of the Board of Directors - discussion of elephant rides contract

When: Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m.

Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, Ponderosa Hall, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, Calif. 95945 (click here for directions)


Have Trunk Will Travel, the company that would provide the rides, is shown in an ADI video repeatedly striking elephants with bullhooks - including a calf less than a year old - and using an electric shock device to force an elephant to perform a circus trick.


Water for Elephants: KTLA TV: Exclusive Video Of Elephant Abuse.
Water for Elephants: KTLA TV:
Exclusive Video Of Elephant Abuse.


Training for rides involves violently breaking and training elephants, and controlling them through dominance and fear of pain for the rest of their lives. Handlers use the bullhook, a steel rod resembling a sharpened fireplace poker, to routinely prod, hook and strike elephants so they comply with every command.


The Grass Valley community has come out strong against the rides. More than 100 people attended the June meeting, and recently about 100 local residents attended a meeting to strategize and organize protest plans. So we expect a BIG turnout for the board of directors meeting on July 16th. Please join PAWS at this important meeting and show your support for the elephants!




What you can do to help: 

  1. Attend the Fair board meeting on Tuesday, July 16. If you live in or near Grass Valley, or if you have attended the Nevada County Fair in the past, it is important that the Fair board hears from you! If you would like to speak during public comment, please prepare a brief statement (no more than 3 minutes long). If you do not wish to speak, your presence is important to show the board that many people are opposed to the rides.   
  2. Send an email to the Nevada County Fair board, urging them to cancel the rides. See the sample message below, but please be sure to personalize it as much as possible.   
  3. Share this message with friends, family and colleagues who live in the area. Urge them to attend the meeting or to send an email to the board.   
  4. Write a brief letter to the editor of the Union newspaper, if you live in the area or have attended the Fair. The Union has been covering this story and running many letters on the issue. Send to
  5. Sign this petition! Forward this link to family, friends and co-workers, especially those living in an area near Grass Valley (Sacramento, Davis, Roseville, Lincoln, Auburn, etc.)
  6. If you are not a California resident but you live in an area where elephant rides are offered, let us know and we'll work with you to stop them.   

Contact information:


Sandy Woods, Nevada County Fair CEO, and the 17th District Agricultural Assn. Board of Directors. Send your email to:


Sample message for the Nevada County Fair CEO and the Board of Directors (please be sure to personalize as much as possible; if you have attended the Fair in the past, please state that, as well whether you will or will not attend this year if there are elephant rides):


Dear Ms. Woods and Board Members:


As a person who cares about elephant welfare and public safety, I urge you to cancel the elephant rides at this year's Nevada County Fair.


These rides are unsafe for the public, inhumane for the elephants and they teach children nothing about conservation. In fact, they send the wrong message about how we treat endangered species.


The elephant rides have already drawn much criticism and controversy due to the abusive training of the elephants. This threatens to overshadow the fun and friendly atmosphere of the Fair.


Other county fairs have decided that they don't need elephant rides. The Nevada County Fair doesn't need them either. Given the controversy, people will have a better time at the fair without them.










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