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PETA Opens Booth At California State Fair For First Time

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has opened a booth at the California State Fair for the fist time.

The animal activist groups says it wants to educate people about what goes on behind the scenes of the dairy industry.

It may seem like an odd strategy since thousands of livestock exhibitors including 4-H and Future Farmer’s of America participants use the fair as a showcase for raising animals for food.

The organization welcomes the controversy.  It has operated similar booths at the Utah, Colorado and Iowa state fairs outlining the acts of cruelty in the beef industry with mixed results.  California is one of the nation’s largest milk producers.

Some visitors to the booth thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s really good they’re here, I think it’s very important to show the other side,” said Susanne Lecce who sympathizes with PETA’s cause.

To compete with nearby booths that sell barbecue pork, cowhide and cowhide products and live monkeys, the PETA booth has a large sign advertising “free stuff” and the viewing of a “secret” video.  Spinning their Wheel of Torture can win you a prize, and the video shows the bloody de-horning of dairy cattle.

PETA supporter Lady Jimenez had to hide her eyes during some sequences.

“A lot of people just drink milk or eat meat but they don’t know all this cruelty that’s going on,”said Jimenz.

PETA Campaigner Matt Bruce says there are all kinds of remedies for what he says are cruel practices by the dairy industry, but he says PETA’s ultimate goal is the ultimate solution.

“We feel that the best way to help animals is to simply stop eating them and go vegan today,” said Bruce.

Those who make their living raising livestock don’t begrudge PETA’s presence at the fair.

“Animal care is the top priority for livestock producers. Our animals are our livelihoods, so we take into consideration how we treat them,” said Malorie Bankhead, a former Beef Ambassador who was raised on a farm.

Bankhead said they they are proud of what they do in raising animals for slaughter or for producing food efficiently.  She said consumers should research how their food is produced.

“PETA and other animal rights groups might be on the fairgrounds and you can most definitely listen to them, but we as American farmers and ranchers have a story to tell too,” said Bankhead.

She said de-horning is necessary for the safety of the cattle and of those who work with them and is done with the least amount of pain as possible. That goes for other practices that may appear cruel to those not familiar with farm practices.

“We take pride in doing it the right way that’s most humane for the animals,” said Bankhead.

The livestock barns were crowded with fair goers on the first day of the fair. Many appeared to be urban dwellers curious to see the farm animals that are competing in the show arena.

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1 Comment

  • ericmills

    Hey, you don't have to head for the farm to see institutionalized animal cruelty! Simply stroll around the State Fairgrounds.

    In the animal nursery, there will again be pregnant sows imprisoned in brutal "farrowing crates," barely larger than their bodies, unable to turn around, barely able to move, FOR THREE STRAIGHT weeks, and forced to give birth on a metal grid with zero bedding. A true "crime against nature." Normally, an expectant sow would seek out a quiet, secluded place to build a nest for herself and her babies. And ILLEGAL under State Penal Code 597t. Humane alternatives are readily available. Open pens in deep wood shavings, for example, as at the recent Alameda County Fair.

    Dairy cows, kept pregnant their entire lives, routinely have their babies taken away at birth, stressing both. Every veterinary study I've seen recommends against transporting pregnant animals about to give birth. UC Davis Vet School (which oversees the animal nursery) should practice what it preaches.

    Don't miss the midway, where goldfish will be given away as prizes (many of which will die before they reach the parking lot, or be flushed down the toilet). And hermit crabs–all taken from the wild–sold as pets, most to suffer an early death. This cruelty should be stopped. Now.

    Then there are the two rodeo shows–dangerous for the animals, the riders and public alike. Remember the two Mexican fighting bulls at the Fair a few years back who escaped their pen and trampled a Security Guard, breaking her ribs and causing permanent brain damage? Some "sport"!

    One brighter note: "Jungle George," a vendor at the 2011 Fair is not being invited back. In 2011 he was selling "Raccoon and Beaver on a Stick" (meat from out-of-state fur farms, illegal in California), bear, python, scorpions, crickets, etc. Such novelty items have NO place at our State Fair. Or anywhere else, for that matter, for reasons of both cruelty and risks to public health.

    Some changes are obviously in order. Contact the Fair Board, email – calexpoboard@calexpo.com; tel. 916/263-3000. Let's make our California State Fair the most humane in the country.

    There's an obvious need for some state legislation. ALL LEGISLATORS MAY BE WRITTEN C/O THE STATE CAPITOL, SACRAMENTO, CA 95814.