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Susan Sachs: Petting zoo at fair not proper way to treat animals

To the editor:

I am writing to urge your readers to boycott the petting zoo at the Three County Fair. The zoo’s owners, R.W. Commerford & Sons, have been cited numerous times for animal cruelty and violating animal welfare laws.

The animals in these petting zoos suffer tremendously. They are carted from town to town in small pens and cages. They live in almost constant states of discomfort, pain, depression and anxiety. When they are on display, they may have no rest, no shade, no respite from constant human gaze and contact.

The sole elephant in captivity is perhaps the saddest sight of them all. Elephants are highly intelligent beings, with emotional lives, meant to live in large social groups, roaming over thousands of acres of land.

In captivity, they can develop TB, painful leg and hoof diseases and profound depression.

What possible human pleasure or amusement could justify this? These animals deserve our compassion.

Susan Sachs

Easthampton

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We really enjoyed the animals in the zoo at the fair. I appreciate that the fair has tried to bring in various new exhibits to keep the fair interesting every year. If it bothers you to see them there, the easy solution is for you not to go.

Because sticking one's head in the sand is always the best answer? I think not. The animals in these exhibitions suffer and that is a fact. How would you like to live the live they have? None of these animals belong in cages, trucks, and small enclosures. An animal is not an "exhibit". They feel pain, fear, boredom, depression anxiety etc etc. How enjoyable can it be to witness that kind of suffering at your local fair?

I am split on this issue. On one hand it is truly amazing to see animals thriving in their own habitat (eg Safari in Kenya) and not pent up, on the other hand I realize that this is unrealistic for many people and the closest they can come to some of these more exotic animals is through a petting zoo, or circus. I'd like to think optimistically that these owners have compassion for those in there care.

Thank you, Susan, for exposing Commerford & Sons' long dirty record of Animal Welfare Act violations to the public! It's atrocious and shame on the fair for hiring them. I hope it'll be the last year the zoo will be there. As if the basic cruelty of using exotic animals in a travelling petting zoo isn't enough in itself, the zoo's violations and 3 dangerous accidents (children fell off elephant) should be enough to ban that zoo from local fairs...and close them down! Unfortunately they're also at The Big E each year with trailers of "freak" animals, like the "unicow", "world's largest pig", etc. But if enough people speak out, as you did, we can keep people from supporting them and get them out of our fairs.

I totally agree with you. People do not understand how animals suffer at zoos and fairs. And, it is true like bAmyb wrote that animals are not an exhibit. All animal lovers need to stick together. We know that abuse is happening. I'm not willing to look away and let it continue.

I agree. I cannot stand to see animals at a fair. It's cruel under the best of circumstances.

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