OC Fair Bans Elephant Rides; Mustache Rides Still Free

Organizers of the Orange County Fair called a halt to the event's twenty-five year tradition of offering elephant rides today.

The decision comes after animal rights activists, veterinary specialists, and Bob Barker wrote to the local Agricultural Association's Board of Directors, on behalf of Dumbo and Babar.

Here's what Bob Barker said:

"At a time when we are fighting to save highly endangered Asian elephants from extinction, offering them for rides sends the wrong message about how we treat our planet's rare and vanishing species. We should be ashamed of ourselves as human beings to know that such misery is inflicted on these highly intelligent and self-aware animals for something as frivolous as rides."

The company responsible for bringing the elephants to the fair, Have Trunk Will Travel, has recently come under criticism after an animal advocacy group released video that appeared to show company employees administering beatings and electrical shocks elephants during training.

The board voted 7 to 1 not to renew their contract this year.

Kari Johnson, co-owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, lamented the decision, saying:

"It's important that the elephants are able to go out into the public."

One could argue that the elephants, not being people, probably do not care whether they go out into the public.

Allegations of animal abuse and debatable levels of fun aside (Does anyone really enjoy elephant rides? They're kind of "meh," right?), the main issue for board members was ultimately one of safety and liability.

Mo elephants mo insurance mo money mo problems.

[Image via Getty]