I’m writing regarding the July 13 letter from Greta Farnsworth about Gary and Kari Johnson, owners of the elephant entertainment firm “Have Trunk, Will Travel.” Ms. Farnsworth has seen (YouTube) videos where the Johnsons were portrayed as abusing their elephants. She feels they should be banned from providing elephant rides at the Nevada County Fair.
Ms. Farnsworth has fallen prey to powerful and misleading messages from animal rights groups. These groups target trainers and owners of high-profile animals such as elephants and jungle cats and spread falsehoods of animal cruelty for self-promotion. The posted Johnson videos have been edited to look like cruelties and mislead the public.
While certainly there are hideous cases of animal cruelty in this world, the focus of animal rights groups needs to be placed where these cruelties really exist, not on the Johnsons. I have been a guest at the Johnson’s ranch where their elephants are kept and trained. Their animals are treated with kindness and provided with a safe, clean home.
Please do not allow your paper to become one more message medium for animal rights groups who intend to part the Johnson’s from their elephants today and you from your pets tomorrow.