Rosamund Downing Pawcatuck Editor's Note: Ms. Downing is a district leader of the Humane Society.
My family was extremely disturbed to see elephant rides being promoted at the North Stonington Agricultural Fair this past weekend. These spectacles are alarming because they pose major public safety risks.
In March, three elephants escaped from a circus in St. Louis and damaged several cars. It is understandable why elephants would rampage, they are stressed from constant chaining and confinement while being hauled around the country. Additionally, elephants can carry (and spread) tuberculosis.
Elephant rides do not promote conservation, nor do they educate the public. Instead, they distort our perception of wildlife and teach children that animals should be exploited for profit. Such rides teach nothing about the true nature of elephants; they are intelligent, social beings who are deprived of everything that is natural to them when held in captivity.
Hopefully, State Rep. Diana Urban of North Stonington, a champion for children and animals, will meet with fair organizers to discuss the risks inherent with elephant rides.
It is shameful that Fair promoters would risk public safety and exploit a threatened species for profit.