Animal exploitation has no place in our city

Published: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 10:59 p.m.
The 19th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is coming up soon, and once again the city of Gainesville has chosen to use our tax dollars to sponsor animal suffering and exploitation by permitting elephant rides.
Moreover, our city officials have decided to ignore last year's barrage of letters, protests and phone calls from concerned citizens pleading with them to consider the public health and safety risks posed by these confined elephants.
The indefensible cruelty of keeping elephants in captivity - the isolation, abuse and deprivation forced upon them - can cause these gentle creatures to go mad with frustration.
In recent years, rampaging elephants have terrified and injured children, sent circus crowds scrambling for exits, crushed people to death and have been gunned down by SWAT teams in city streets. Such incidents are not rare.
Since 1990, captive elephants have killed 65 people and injured more than 130 others. Among them were children at elephant-ride exhibits like the one our city will be sponsoring again this year.
Furthermore, the elephant ride only teaches children that animals are insensitive, unfeeling "props" to be used for human entertainment.
It exposes children to the heartless world of animal cruelty and it does nothing to teach them empathy for others.
Concerned parents, guardians and teachers should visit This Web site maintains a database of dangerous incidents involving captive elephants.
The site is also a valuable tool for parents, guardians and teachers who wish to learn more about the importance of teaching children to have compassion and empathy for all living creatures.
Joy Drawdy, Gainesville

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