Stop Elephant Acts at Johnson County Fair

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The Johnson County Fair boasts about their family fun including rides, demolition derbies, wonderful food, artists, a dog show, a parade and a celebration of farming.  While riding ferris wheels and eating funnel cakes are notable pastimes, it is unnecessary for the fair to perpetuate animal cruelty by offering elephant performances and rides to the public. We are urging the organizers of the Johnson County Fair to not endorse this barbaric mistreatment of our planet’s largest land animal.

At first glance, it may be difficult to understand how elephants endure cruelty when they seem to happily walk in circles while small children and adults of all ages ride atop their backs or they do seemingly fun tricks. The truth is anything but. While sitting on an elephant’s back does no lasting harm, the grueling process of preparing the animal for hobby riding is inhumane in every way imaginable. Trained elephants are captive elephants. To break them in, handlers deprive them of social contact with their fellow creatures and force them to live in confined areas. Because of their large size, they must be chained for hours each day, and many are beaten with whips, bullhooks, or sticks if they fail to do exactly what their handlers wish them to.

Bambi and Daisy (as pictured above) will be performing at the Johnson County Fair for 2017. Both of these elephants were stolen from the wild in 1974. Their owners Circus Pages has a long list of USDA violations and have failed to meet the minimum standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as establishing the Animal Welfare Act. Years of beatings (see bullhook in trainers hand) and terrible living conditions result in foot conditions and arthritis, and shortening the animals lives significantly. But in the eyes of an elephant trainer, this is the only way to guarantee the safety of fair-goers. This type of entertainment isn't needed and putting your child in harm's way to support abuse isn't either.

Elephant performances and rides are blatant signs of brutality, and they are not a necessary component of a county fair. Our progressive society can happily celebrate the community with a fare-thee-well to animal cruelty.

In neighboring Wyandotte County, the organizers of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival chose to pull the elephant rides from the event due to public outcry and awareness of the plight of the elephants.  They have gained back many patrons by choosing to get rid of the outdated practice of elephant rides.

We are asking that the organizers of the Johnson County Fair please discontinue the elephant performance and rides.  They are irrelevant to the fair itself, they are cruel, and they are heartbreaking to witness. Many people will choose a different family activity until the elephants are left out of the fair’s lineup. 



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