Today's city of Santa Ana announcement that it is ending elephant rides at Santa Ana Zoo was cheered by animal rights activists. “Following more than a year of pressure from PETA, the Animal Protection
and Rescue League, Animal Defenders International (ADI), and celebrities
including Charo and Switched at Birth star Constance Marie, the city of Santa Ana's decision today to cease
elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo is spot on and puts the facility in
the company of more than 220 other accredited zoos that do not provide
these cruel and dangerous rides,” reads an email from David Perle, senior media coordinator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Perle continues: “No longer will the zoo be supporting the miserable treatment of elephants who spend much of their lives chained by two legs, barely able to take a single step forward or backward, and are dominated and controlled by bullhooks–barbaric training devices that resemble a fireplace poker.”
The city in June launched an investigation into complaints against Have Trunk, Will Travel, the Perris-based ride provider at the city-owned zoo that also contracts with the Orange County Fair. But city officials say it was a policy change from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that ended the elephant attraction in Santa Ana.
The association earlier this year called for minimal direct contact between
elephants and handlers, something PETA has championed along with legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) that would ban wild animals from traveling circuses.