Target: Juan Pérez Guerrero, Mayor of Lucena, Spain
Goal: Stop using live animals in public nativity display
A five-month-old donkey died two days after it was placed in a nativity scene display in an outdoor mall in Lucena, Spain and was abused by a visitor. A heavyset man entered the pen with the donkeys, which were apparently unsupervised, and proceeded to sit on one of them to pose for a photo. The photo has since gone viral on social media. Two days after the photo was taken, the young donkey, named Platero, was unable to stand up and had to be euthanized.
The police opened an investigation into the case after complaints by Asociación de Defensa del Borrico (Adebo) and the Círculo Animalista de Podemos Lucena, two animal rights advocacy groups. The town hall has announced that it intends to prosecute the man if a veterinarian’s autopsy finds that injuries consistent with being sat on contributed to the donkey’s death. However, the city has made no effort to remove the remaining donkey from public display, leaving it vulnerable to similar abuse.
When placed in a hectic environment such as a busy outdoor strip mall during holiday shopping season, animals can experience extreme stress. They can be exposed to excited children who have not yet learned to respect animals, and negligent adults who ignore rules and deliberately cause harm or distress to the creatures.
Without constant supervision, it is almost impossible to ensure the safety and well-being of animals used in public displays. While the nativity scene is an important part of Christmas tradition, live donkeys are not necessary to the display. We, the undersigned, ask that all live animals be removed from the display and that in the future, prop animals are used.
Dear Mayor Juan Pérez Guerrero,
Two days after a grown man sat on its back back, a five-month-old donkey collapsed and had to be euthanized. The donkey was part of a public nativity display in an outdoor mall, and was left unattended with a sign asking visitors not to touch the animals. It was found unable to stand two days after the man sat on it in order to take a photo for his social media account.
Live animals can be put under extreme stress when kept in public displays, and are at risk of injury due to negligent and ignorant citizens. We, the undersigned, ask that the remaining donkey is removed from the display, and that fake animals are used in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Andrzej 22 via Creative Commons