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END DONKEY SPORTS, RODEOS, ROPING

This petition had 8,951 supporters


**************UPDATE - This event is over, but we are still looking for signatures and shares in order to spread awareness and education to help prevent this from happening again in our community, as well as stop it from happening anywhere else.  We have to speak for those who cannot!  Therefore, this petition is being used to inform signers of other upcoming donkey sports and rodeos, so that we can put an end to those events!*****************

This petition is regarding canceling an upcoming school fundraiser of donkey basketball on March 16, 2015, involving Marathon Fire Department, Marathon FFA, Edgar Fire Department, and Edgar FFA (located in Marathon, WI and Edgar, WI).

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) have been working on eliminating donkey ball activities.  In fact, these barbaric activities have been banned in many areas of the country.  

The whole point of schools is to teach our children to be better and more-educated citizens than we were.  Why, then, we would allow an activity like Donkey Basketball is beyond me.  As stewards of this planet, it is incumbent on us to study our environment, to learn about it, to protect it, to preserve it, and to respect it.  This is not only true of the physical environment but of the animals that live in and depend on the environment.  Our children watch us carefully every day and they repeat our actions.  If we abuse our environment, they learn to abuse.  If we stand up and protect it, they will emulate our actions and do the same.  Fundraising is good.  Helping others is good.  Denying the suffering of animals because it is convenient is not good.  What do you know about donkeys?  Did you know that they are introverts?  They shy away from bright lights and loud noises.  They take time to assess their environment.  They like routine and a predictable and familiar environment.  They are highly stressed by changes to the environment and the introduction of strange sights and sounds and sensations.  This ‘donkey basketball’ that you are proposing is HELL to them.  It runs counter to everything about being a donkey.  Contrary to popular myth, donkeys can only carry a limited amount of weight.  The tack (bridle, blanket, saddle) as well as the person riding them should not ever weight more than 20% of the donkey’s weight.  That’s 1/5 of his weight.  Quite a lot.  For a donkey to carry a 200 lb man, with NO tack, means that the donkey must weigh at least 1,000 pounds minimum.  This does not account for the added weight of a person jumping on in between activities.  This amount of weight is the amount of weight they can carry on an appropriate surface.  A basketball court is not a safe or appropriate surface for a donkey.  Forcing them to try to walk on a gymnasium floor puts them at risk of injury, especially in an event with the crowding and sudden moves that will occur.  Donkeys, like most animals, shy away from rough treatment: Hitting, kicking, getting hit by an object (a foot or a ball or an arm), being dragged, having people fall under their feet are all things that add to the stresses identified above.  A scared donkey stops in his tracks (much like you or I would do) and, then, finally, lays down.  This laying down is an emotional shut down, a complete submission, a last resort for a creature that is overstimulated and so terrified that he can’t even figure out what to do.  People who select donkeys for these events choose the quietest and most ‘broken’ of animals available so that they can assure the safety of the participants.  Did you catch that? These are the MOST broken and shut-down creatures they can find.  Picking on the weak and vulnerable is what the promoters do.


We are supposed to be teaching our children how to be good citizens – how to show concern for others, how to curtail aggressive behavior, how to be responsible for the consequences of their actions.  We are enforcing anti-bullying policies in order to keep children from being bullied.  Activities like this run exactly contrary to those values.  I cannot understand how the owners of these donkey events cannot see the suffering they perpetuate.  I cannot see how governments can look the other way. I cannot see how PARENTS would encourage their children to pretend that these events are anything but suffering for these quiet and gentle creatures.  How can any CITIZEN justify this kind of childish disregard for the negative impacts of human behavior?  I urge you to cancel this event immediately.  I can understand that you, as adults, have become immune to the unintended suffering caused by your actions.  But rest assured that your children have not.  They are watching carefully, and they are learning from you.  They can see what is being done to the animals, and they are wondering why you would allow this.  But they’ll take their cues from you.  Do you want a better world with more compassion?  Or do you want more of the same brutality and disregard for others that this kind of activity exemplifies?  It’s up to you to do the right thing.  Be brave.  Say no.  Make this a teachable moment.  Let's do the right thing for the animals and for our children.



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