Protesting at the fair
August 15, 2013
On Aug. 8, I joined fellow animal lovers to protest the training methods used by Have Trunk Will Travel, the Southern California vendor offering elephant rides at the fair. First, I would like to thank The Union for doing such a balanced and informative job of printing both sides of this issue.
Which is why I was so surprised to read Robin Guerra's recent letter to the editor in The Union comparing elephant rides to pony rides.
The writer flaunted ignorance of the whole point of the many well-written articles, specifically articulating the inhumane methods used to train the elephants, including the many links to videos documenting that training.
These videos clearly show HTWT's elephants being beaten with electric prods. This information is public domain, and anyone who cares to research it can gather all the information they need to make an informed decision regarding the training methods and treatment of wild animals for our entertainment. See http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3098&ssi=7 or http://www.peta.org/tv/videos/animals-in-entertainment/1539214323001.aspx
There (at animal sanctuaries) they can teach their kids about humane vs. inhumane treatment and preservation of these sentient beings, who have a right to live their lives without being beaten into performing for us.
Not only are they electrically shocked and beaten into submission, they are crammed into tiny, uncomfortable trailers in which they cannot move an inch and chained without the ability to move 12 hours per night. And that's just for starters.
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Please research how these highly social and intelligent animals are removed from their mothers as infants and isolated and inhumanely treated their entire lives so that companies such as Ringling Brothers and HTWT can make a profit on them.
Guerra compared the elephant rides to pony rides, writing "even the most enlightened among us believe ponies can still be carnival rides." Actually, if the ponies are beaten with electric prods, I would hope that "the most enlightened among us" would be there protesting with us.
My experience of protesting at the fair was generally positive, with roughly 80 percent of the fair-goers who engaged with me stating they agreed with our cause. That is why I am in agreement with Jerry Henderson, the writer of the Other Voices column that suggested we vote to overthrow the fair board.
The board saw the large number of residents who showed up to request the cancellation of this ill-advised decision to hire HTWT, viewed actual footage of the company's abuse, saw what a clearly divisive issue this was to our community, yet remained too prideful to admit a mistake and honor the majority's wishes.
I have asked Gov. Jerry Brown to recall the Nevada County Fair board so that we can hire a board that shows sensitivity to the community it serves. You can easily email this request at http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/webmail.php
If people want to have up-close and personal interaction with elephants or other wild animals, I suggest they go to PAWS (http://www.pawsweb.org/meet_elephants.html), Safari West (http://www.safariwest.com/about-us/), or any other of the many sanctuaries we have here in our state.
There they can teach their kids about humane vs. inhumane treatment and preservation of these sentient beings, who have a right to live their lives without being beaten into performing for us.
Bronco Stuart lives in Grass Valley.