While many people jump at the opportunity to get close to animals by buying exotic animal rides at fairs and fests, they probably wouldn't if they knew about the suffering the animals endure being treated as amusement park attractions.
Much of the violence isn't seen by the public because the owners of these operations know that people would be enraged if they knew how these animals are punished and beaten into submission. They have to make the elephants so avoidant to punishment so that they will behave in front of spectators.
These animals are chained for many hours every day. They are trucked around the country from site to site in small trailers or trucks. If they were allowed to live in the wild, they would have extensive social networks and travel miles upon miles every day. But when they're sentenced to being "rides", they have to plod in boring circles day after day with hundreds of pounds on their backs, for hour upon boring, uncomfortable hour.
There are huge public safety concerns, too. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone on record warning, “You always put yourself at risk when you go near an elephant, no matter how good the trainer/handler and elephant appear to be.” This is because elephants are wild animals who are forced to comply with their handlers’ demands by force, and sometimes they will reach a limit, resist their captors and revolt.
Elephants also carry the human strain of tuberculosis (TB) and can easily transmit it. Most companies fail to have valid TB tests performed on their elephants due to the cost and difficulty of administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that this disease is highly transferable from elephants to humans.
Yet, despite their knowledge of the inherent cruelty and danger, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival continues to feature exotic animal rides.
Join us for our protest(s) to help raise awareness about this unethical attraction at the Ren Fest and encourage people attending to skip the animal rides - and instead enjoy the activities that don't hurt animals.
If you want to join us, meet us at the Highway 169 entrance at [masked]th Street West. You can also go to http://www.renaissancefest.com/contact.html to view directions. If you are interested in carpooling, please post here.
You can also contact the Ren Fest promoter, Mid-America Festivals, at[masked] or [masked] and let them know that many festivals have dropped exotic animal rides and you’d like them to be next.