Target: San Diego County Fair Board CEO Tim Fennell
Goal: End cruel elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair
The San Diego County Fair has been offering elephant rides at their annual festivities for many years. In 2011, the owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, the organization that provides elephants for the fair, was filmed beating elephants and using electric shock therapy to get the animals to perform tricks. Earlier this month, Have Trunk Will Travel lost their certification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) because they could not, or would not, comply with a new safety policy. We must demand that the San Diego County Fair Board act in the best interest of the animals and their patrons by stopping elephant rides at their event.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which rescues and provides sanctuary for abused animals, revealed that Have Trunk Will Travel lost its AZA certification because of failure to prohibit keepers from sharing unrestricted space with elephants. In light of this new development, PAWS President Ed Stewart is calling for the San Diego County Fair Board to immediately end elephant rides. He says, “The elephants giving rides at the San Diego County Fair are wild animals who have been brutally broken and trained through pain and fear. Using them for rides is an accident waiting to happen.”
A recent elephant escape in Missouri further highlights the danger that captivity poses for elephants and the public. On March 24, 2014, three elephants broke out of the Shrine Circus in St. Charles and proceeded to damage vehicles in a parking lot for 45 minutes. These elephants were reportedly spooked by loud noises when they escaped.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the elephant escape in Missouri, but the incident reminds us that you can never fully be in control of a wild animal. Elephants used in rides are typically beaten and humiliated in order to make them perform. This cruel and unsafe practice needs to be banned so that these elephants who’ve had their spirits broken can retire to a safe place like the PAWS sanctuary.
By signing the petition below, you will help encourage San Diego County Fair Board CEO Tim Fennell to cancel all future plans to host elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair.
Dear Mr. Tim Fennell,
I was not surprised to learn that Have Trunk Will Travel, the organization that provides elephants for the San Diego County Fair, lost their certification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums because they could not, or would not, comply with a new safety policy. This organization has a history of abusing their elephants by beating them and even using electric shock therapy in order to make them perform.
These types of performing organizations create situations that are inhumane for the animals and dangerous for the public. I am asking you to please cancel all future plans to host elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa via Wikimedia Commons