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Wild-animal shows are on their way out. Circuses are shutting down or dropping their animal acts, and hundreds of venues and dozens of communities have banned them. Yet some fairs still appear to support the exploitation of certain individuals—including bears, elephants, giraffes, sea lions, sharks, tigers, and wolves, whose only fault is not having been born human—for mere entertainment.
Elephants—who walk up to 30 miles a day in nature—are often used for rides at fairs. Whether they're born into captivity or taken from their natural habitats, these animals must be emotionally and mentally broken before they'll allow humans to climb onto their backs. They live under the constant threat of being hit and jabbed with bullhooks—sharp steel-tipped weapons resembling a fireplace poker—in the most sensitive parts of their bodies.
Less than a week into The Big E fair, Beulah's handlers canceled the exhibit without notification, and the fair announced just days later that she had died.
Experts recommend against transporting fragile giraffes unless essential for their well-being, because it's so physically and psychologically distressing to them—yet they're still forced to travel to some fairs, such as the Georgia National Fair. Captive giraffes exhibit an extremely high rate of neurotic, stereotypic behavior resulting from captivity-related stress, frustration, or deprivation. Video footage from the State Fair of Texas in 2017 shows a giraffe engaged in such behavior.
Whenever wild animals are used for fairs, they're denied any semblance of a natural life. They're often torn away from their mothers as babies, locked in cages or shackled with chains, and carted around to different locations to be forced to perform or give rides or to be gawked at by strangers.
Urge the Georgia National Fair, Seven Peaks Waterpark, and The Big E to leave wild animals out of their upcoming events and all future ones.