The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the Netherlands want fairground carousels featuring animals, usually horses, changed so that children sit in on vehicles such as cars, planes or spaceships in order to remove the idea that horses and other animals can be exploited by being ridden.
It is a very bold statement and desire but it fits in very nicely with PETA’s modus operandi and the statement comes from Janneke Hogervorst, a science adviser at PETA.
He argues that fairground carousels “unwittingly celebrate the exploitation of conscious beings”. He added that, “amusement parks don’t mean it that way but those merry-go-rounds do give children the feeling that it is normal to use animals purely for our pleasure.”
He has written to the Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest in Europe. He has demanded that animals be replaced with spaceships, planes, cars or rainbows even. He wants to avoid the impression that children might get the impression that “animals are only there for our entertainment”.
PETA has lobbied Chance Rides, the largest maker of carousels in the United States for an animal model ban.
The Efteling amusement Park was happy to engage in a “special debate” but others have dismissed the idea. The chairman of the Dutch National Association of Fairground Owners, Lubach-Koers, described the call as “very sad”.
He responded by saying that, “Maybe we should all tell PETA that the horses aren’t alive”.
Comment: Lubach-Koers is taking the Mickey. He is obviously being sarcastic because he sees the suggestion as ridiculous. Personally I think it’s an excellent suggestion. There is no need to have horses and animals on these rights and the claim is correct.
PETA wants to get at the heart of the problem. They want to delve into the minds of people and ask how young people are indoctrinated with ideas which are indirectly inferred. These ideas are firmly embedded in society and they are unquestioned. A fairground is a bit of fun. Let’s not get too serious about it.
But when you analyse it and dig a bit deeper you have to admit that sitting on fairground horses does encourage the belief that it is okay to sit on live horses and PETA doesn’t want animals to be used in anyway for human entertainment.
They are asking something which is enormous. They are asking for a fundamental change in attitude by humankind which is probably unattainable but it shouldn’t stop them asking, demanding and cajoling because in that way you gradually chip away at these deep-rooted attitudes and you end up with better animal welfare even though you might not arrive at your original objective.
There is an associated topic concerning vintage fur coats. In Britain, young people think it’s okay to wear vintage fur coats which were manufactured and bought when fur farms in the UK weren’t banned. They argue that it’s a good use of them and they are very effective in keeping them warm. But I would argue they are wrong because in wearing vintage fur coats you encourage the wearing of modern recently made fur coats and jackets which have been imported.