Letter to the Editor: Response to article 'The Big E is back'

To the Editor:

Despite a groundswell of opposition, The Big E continues to condone animals being manhandled in petting zoos, elephants being whacked with metal-tipped bullhooks, and ponies plodding in endless circles. 

Animals used on the fair circuit are treated like nothing more than equipment. Tigers, elephants, monkeys, kangaroos—well, basically, every animal from aardvarks to zebras—are hauled around the country from one fair to the next. Animals spend their days caged in stifling tractor-trailers or in cramped display pens. After being poked, petted, held, raced, ridden and handled by countless fairgoers in one location, these animals are loaded up to start the cycle all over again in another city. There's no respite.

Touring animal exhibitors follow a tight schedule. The sheer logistics of fulfilling multiple contracts does not allow for downtime to let animals rest or exercise or to attend to sick or injured animals. It’s impossible to know how many animals suffer and die en route from fair to fair, because the caravans are constantly on the move, and for the most part, no one is watching. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees traveling animal shows, but with only about 140 inspectors covering the entire country, it’s virtually impossible to regularly monitor these exhibitors. 

The Big E has lots to offer, but the cruel animal displays have to go. 

Yours truly,

Jennifer O'Connor
Senior Writer
PETA Foundation