After reading the letter from Kaycee Granholm in Friday’s paper, I had to write. She was supporting the elephant rides at the fair. Although she has never seen one. I imagine she also knows very little about them.
My cousin Patti Rowe-Miles was a zoologist at the Detroit Zoo for many years. She loved the elephants. She made a big stink and managed to get two arthritic elephants relocated to the sanctuary at San Andres. She was on the news, 60 Minutes, etc. I met her at the sanctuary. I helped chop fresh fruit for the elephants. I was not allowed near the African elephants period. The Asian elephants I could get within 50 feet. Many of the elephants at the San Andres sanctuary were from the circus, zoo or rides, like Have Trunk Will Travel. They were abused and tortured. I watched from a safe distance as she manicured their feet. The elephants were behind heavy steel fences. Not out in the open like a ride! She said all elephants are dangerous. She no longer does elephants as her husband knows how dangerous they are!
I also know firsthand. In the late ’80s, I drove the Nevada City Carriage. We were at the State Fair giving rides. There was a water spigot in the elephant area where we got our horses water. I would signal the elephant trainer and then proceed to fill my water bucket. One day as I was filling my bucket, the elephant turned, snorted and started after me! I dropped the bucket and ran like a deer! The trainers beat, shocked and hooked the elephant into submission. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
So dear fair board, please reconsider your decision. What do you people really know about elephants? Elephants are dangerous! Not to mention the sad, pathetic lives they live giving rides to people. Going in circles is not fun for them!
Look at the safety measures for the Draft Horse Classic! These are elephants. Please say no!
The Rev. Grace O’Mara
Rough and Ready