The Fair — smoke free but not cruelty free?

Elephants have been viewed throughout history with a sense of awe. In the fourth century Aristotle referred to the elephant as “the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind.”

“Natures great masterpiece,” poet John Donne wrote of elephants, “the only harmless great thing.

Elephants are magnificent, highly complex, social animals living in extended family groups The largest land mammal, elephants are genetically designed to move and forage most of the day; this constant movement is necessary for their psychological and physical well-being.

Elephants in captive environments suffer from captivity-induced physical and psychological health problems. Health problems include debilitating foot and joint problems, arthritis, digestive disorders, stereotypical behaviors (neurotic behaviors resulting from severe confinement). Other problems include reproductive system shutdown, and high infant mortality rate.

There is no “elephant whisperer” coaxing these creatures into submission. Captivity is contrary to everything these giant mammals are about and is done through cohesive force-- beating, chaining, the use of bullhooks and electrical hotshots and social isolation. Additional callous treatment of these sensitive animals is imposed during the rides. The chair or Howdah attached to the back of the elephant is miserable, causing irritation and blistering from the side to side motion and weight of the riders.

Videos, witnesses and photos attesting to the heartless practices at Have Trunks Will Travel (HTWT) were submitted to the board in the past. The board turned a blind eye. A visit by a board member to HTWT “did not turn up any abusive practices.” With so much at stake, wouldn’t HTWT present their best image to this visitor? The cruelty they impose is not for public display.

Elephant rides have been banned by the Orange County, Los Angeles, Sierra Madre and Fountain Valley. By eliminating the elephant rides the Fair will significantly benefit:

  1. San Diego will be in alignment with the current enlightened standards
  2. A compelling message is sent about morality, ethics, and rejecting animal cruelty
  3. The possibility of an accident that might injure or kill riders is eliminated
  4. An educational opportunity is achieved; animals are not to be subjected to such merciless and inappropriate treatment

End the elephant rides!
Lynn Nolan

San Diego