Target: Durham Fair Officials
Goal: Cancel the Elephant Encounter Show due to cruel treatment of elephants
The Durham Fair began in 1916, and has become a tradition that is still going on today. During the last full weekend in September, the fairgrounds are transformed into Connecticut’s largest agricultural fair. Although it is an “agricultural fair,” there is an Elephant Encounter Show. By hosting this show, the Fair is “supporting the captivity, mistreatment and exploitation of elephants for entertainment,” according to Rachel Mann of Connecticut.
The Durham Fair Association does not believe that it is mistreating the elephants. In fact, the elephants are treated as “family elephants.” Despite saying that these elephants are “family elephants,” William (Bill) Morris, the owner of Elephant Encounter, was videotaped hitting the Asian elephant, Cora, with a bullhook in 2003. Furthermore, Morris has violated federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also cited Morris for repeatedly failing to provide adequate veterinary care and a nutritional diet to two undersized elephants. In addition, Morris was cited for not providing shelter from the elements and adequate ventilation for his elephants. That is certainly not how “family elephants” should be treated.
People have spoken against the Elephant Encounter Show, stating that they will boycott the fair and businesses that support the fair if the show is not removed from the entertainment line up. Sign the petition to boycott the Durham Fair until the Elephant Encounter Show is cancelled.
Dear Officials with the Durham Fair,
William Morris, the owner of Elephant Encounter, has been cited for mistreating the elephants in his show. He calls them “family elephants,” but do not care for them as evidenced by the numerous citations given by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Morris for repeatedly failing to provide adequate veterinary care and a nutritional diet to two undersized elephants. In addition, Morris was cited for not providing shelter from the elements and adequate ventilation for his elephants.
You said you have talked with Morris and are convinced he treats the animals well. Based on this talk you had with Morris, you defended the decision to bring the elephants to this year’s 94th Durham Fair. You said your intent “was purely for the educational aspects of having this rare experience of witnessing these awesome animals in a controlled environment.” These animals are awesome. Hence, they should not continue to be mistreated and misused. Stop forcing these animals to perform tricks for the rest of their lives. Also, demand Morris take better care of them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Walter Baxter