Eliminating human contact with animals hurts everyone

Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 10:05 p.m.
In response to Joy Drawdy's letter (Jan. 23) regarding the upcoming Hoggetowne Medieval Faire and the elephant ride: Having allowed my child to ride several elephants in the past, I found he gained a greater appreciation and respect for elephants as a result of seeing and riding one in person, which is something that cannot be gained from a video or a picture in a book. It is the feel, the smell, the sense of being near an animal that impresses a person, whether they are a child or an adult.
The trouble with Drawdy and other animal rights activists is that it is not just an elephant being at Hoggetowne Faire that they oppose. It is the human contact with any animal, be it an elephant, horse, pony or dog. Today it is an elephant. Tomorrow it may be ponies or horses at the fair.
If people are prevented from interacting with any animal, they lose appreciation for them. The animal then becomes another picture in a book.
History illustrates this by showing that animals that are domesticated never seem to become extinct, whereas those that humans have little or no contact with often do.
As for the safety issue, assuming that Drawdy's statistics are correct, I'm sure that the numbers of fatalities or injuries from horseback riding or attacks from companion animals such as dogs would be equally disturbing.
I suspect Drawdy feels that the keeping of horses and dogs should also be banned as "abusive" or "exploitation."
I doubt, however, that she would ever publicly admit it. She knows millions of people enjoy the interplay with their horses and dogs. Such an admission would expose her and her ilk as the radicals they really are.
I had not planned on going to the Hoggetowne Faire this year, but I plan to now. And I look forward to riding the elephant!
Chris Schreiber, Bell

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