Stop Elephant Rides
at the San Diego County Fair Now!

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, the San Diego County Fair board will vote on the contract for elephant rides at this year's fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The board previously indicated it would allow the rides to continue through 2014 and then revisit its decision. However, PAWS recently presented new information about controversial elephant ride provider Have Trunk Will Travel that should cause the board to end the rides now.


In a joint press release issued earlier this month, PAWS and the Orange County Affiliate of the League of Humane Voters of California (LOHV-Calif.) revealed that Have Trunk Will Travel is no longer certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The company reportedly opted to forego certification because it could not comply with a new AZA policy that prohibits keepers from sharing unrestricted space with elephants. The policy, which is intended to protect elephant handlers from injury and death, was announced after elephants killed one zookeeper and seriously injured another at two different zoos.


In 2011, the Fair board indicated it would allow the elephant rides to continue through 2014 (when the AZA policy goes into effect) and then "revisit the AZA policy and what the industry's position is" at that time. However, since Have Trunk Will Travel is no longer AZA certified the issue should be revisited now and not after the 2014 Fair is over.


PAWS and LOHV-Calif. recently reminded the Fair board of the serious risk that elephants present for public safety. We issued a joint press release on the March 23 incident in which three elephants broke out of a circus in St. Charles, Missouri, running uncontrolled in a parking lot for 45 minutes. The elephants had been used to give children rides. There were no elephant or human injuries, but this near-miss should be a warning for any Fair that continues to offer elephant rides.


The San Diego County Fair has been at the center of controversy ever since the release of a video by Animal Defenders International (ADI) showing Have Trunk Will Travel staff and owner viciously striking elephants with a spike-tipped club called a bullhook and using electric shock (a misdemeanor under California law) to force an elephant to perform a trick. The Fair is the last in Southern California to offer elephant rides.


At recent Fair board meetings, PAWS has presented expert testimony alongside LOHV-Calif and local citizens speaking out in opposition to the rides. Now we need you to get involved and help end the elephant rides this year.


What you can do:


1. ATTEND the next meeting of the San Diego County Fair Board meeting, where members will vote on the 2014 contract with Have Trunk Will Travel.


When: Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. (arrive early to sign up for public comment, which is limited to 3 minutes or less)


Where:  Board Room - Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, Calif. 92014 


Please wear red to show unity on this issue.


2. SEND AN EMAIL to the Fair Board via CEO Tim Fennell at Please copy your email to Ask that Mr. Fennell provide a copy of your email to all Fair Board members. Be polite in your message - threats and insults will only hurt our cause.


3. SIGN THE PETITION asking the Fair Board to discontinue the elephant rides. Click here to sign.


4. SHARE this information with friend, colleagues and family. Ask them to send an email, attend the meeting and/or sign the petition.


5. WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR of the San Diego Union-Tribune at This is especially important if you live in the San Diego area. There is a limit of 125 words. You must include your name, community of residence and a phone number (for verification purposes). 


6. VISIT OUR FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: New! Stop Elephant Rides at the San Diego County Fair .


For more information, please contact Catherine Doyle at



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Performing Animal Welfare Society 
P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632 | (209) 745-2606 |