By Claire Harlin
As Del Mar Fairgrounds officials conduct an investigation into the alleged abuse by elephant ride company Have Trunk Will Travel, several members of the public came before the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) board on Aug. 9 to voice their concern.
A Have Trunk Will Travel report was listed as a possible action item on the 22nd DAA agenda for Aug. 9, but it was postponed because officials are “collecting additional data,” according to the agenda.
Allegations arose earlier this summer, when an undercover video was released by Animal Defenders International (ADI) purportedly showing a trainer striking a baby elephant with a sharp-ended heavy stick known as a billhook. Animal rights groups also claim the company uses high-voltage electrical prods to make the animals submissive.
Jane Carmill, president of San Diego Animal Advocates, asked the board to completely eliminate the elephant rides, which have existed at the fair for nearly 30 years.
“The San Diego Zoo eliminated elephant rides in 1990,” she said. “The fair is a great attraction and would still be a lot of fun without elephant rides.”
22nd DAA President Adam Day said the board is extremely concerned with the allegations against Have Trunk Will Travel and promised to return to the table with a fully researched analysis on the issue.