January 29, 2015
It’s a shame that organizers of the Kids Fun Fair and Zoo [at the DCU center] are offering camel and elephant rides. Such cruel animal exploitation should be condemned, not condoned.
Elephants forced to give rides are controlled through fear.
Elephants obey or know they will be hit with bullhooks, heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on the end – picture getting whacked with a fireplace poker.
Handlers strike elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies – behind the ears, their face and feet.
If we look at what life on the road means to elephants compared to their place in nature, we can see how far we have degraded these complex and keenly intelligent animals.
There is nothing more important to an elephant than family. Births are joyous celebrations; deaths of loved ones are mourned. Youngsters are nurtured in close-knit family units in which aunts babysit, grandmothers teach youngsters life skills such as how to use different kinds of leaves and mud to ward off sunburn, and siblings roughhouse and play.
Elephants have the largest brains of any mammal on Earth and think, plan and remember. Elephants truly never do forget; their memories are extraordinary.
Young camels used to provide rides are often ripped from their nurturing mothers when they are only days old so they can get “used to” public contact.
Camels are naturally free-roaming animals and fare very poorly when kept continuously in transport trailers and small pens. They can be skittish and unpredictable.
Both Bactrian and Dromedary camels have a poor tolerance for rough handling. This presents a potentially hazardous situation for both the riders and the animals.
Please think about the poor quality of life for these animals, who are hauled around in trucks and forced to plod in endless circles all day long.
There’s little respite between events, and when not working, they spend their lives in cages and chains.
Renting animals out for rides does nothing to foster respect. Children learn that animals can be exploited for their fleeting distraction and amusement.
The Kids Fun Fair and Zoo should stop supporting cruel animal displays.
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
From the editor:
PLEASE BOYCOTT THIS DCU EVENT! Exotic animals NEVER BELONG IN TRAVELING “SHOWS”! To be EXPLOITED, WHIPPED, HAVE THEIR SKIN TORN BY BULLHOOKS! Please! Don’t take your kids to this “fun” event. – R. Tirella