Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute

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July 2, 2014

Elephants and Camels are Being Exploited in Maryland. Act Now!


Dear Friend,

It turns out that a favorite seasonal destination for Maryland citizens has a dark underside. For several years, the Maryland Renaissance Festival has offered rides on captive exotic animals, with no thought to the suffering these animals endure. In 2013, in a tragic display of exploitation, two elephants and two camels were paraded around a tiny space with fair-goers on their backs. We need your help to pressure them into ending this abuse, once and for all.

Animals used for entertainment are trained in horrific ways and experience the same loneliness and grief as humans when separated from their families and forced to live without their complex social relationships.

Human/elephant contact is also highly risky for the human participants. For example, at the New York State Fair, an elephant giving rides panicked, injuring her trainer and a three-year-old child who fell from her back. And, during an elephant ride at the Tarzan Zerbini Circus, one elephant fell into the passenger loading platform, bending it and injuring three children. Check out our Exotic Animal Incidents database for more examples of the dangers of elephant rides.

The elephants at the Maryland Renaissance Festival come from Elephant Walk, whose founder, Franklin Murray, has a history of animal abuse and lax standards of animal care. He was arrested in New Jersey in 2011 on four counts of animal cruelty, and one of his elephants has also tested positive for the tuberculosis antibody. It is unacceptable that this kind of cruel and irresponsible operation would be hired by the festival. These unwilling performers should not be sentenced to a lifetime of misery in order to provide fleeting amusement and a profit.

Please call the Maryland Renaissance Festival to politely urge them to end this exhibit, and then follow up by sending an email (and customize it for extra impact). The festival needs to hear that compassionate citizens will no longer attend while this exploitation continues!

For the animals,


P.S. Please donate to The Elephant Defense Fund so that we can continue to help elephants in need!

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