Animal attractions need approval to enter county fair
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Alachua County Fair opens Friday, but one animal attraction is not making a return appearance.
"Banana Derby" angered animal activists last year, and because of their protests, the protocol for all animal acts entering the fair this year changed.
"It was horrifying, it was just heartwrenching," said Megan Stark, Sanctuary Manager at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary. She protested against "Banana Derby," the attraction where monkeys attached to dogs raced around a track.
Protesters like her took their complaints to the Board of County Commissioners. "The commission requested that all future animal acts be brought to them in advance, so they can approve or reject them," said Gina Peebles, Assisant County Manager.
This year Banana Derby will not be back.
Stark said, "We had overwhelming support from other animal groups, from individuals in the community and their voice really spoke loudly, the county commissioners heard."
Stark said the treatment of animals living in fairs is inhumane. "To see them isolated from their species, chained to the back of dogs, often they've had their teeth pulled out, they've looked very emaciated, very underfed," she said.
One of the Capuchins under their care named Max has been in and out of state fairs and carnivals for more than a decade.
"A lot of times when we get animals like that, their journey back to health does take a little longer," said Stark.
The 2016 fair will have two animal attractions which were unanimously approved by the board. "The current animal acts that are proposed are a petting zoo as well as a dog and cat show," said Peebles.
Starke said, "While we prefer that they weren't at the county fair, we recognize that not letting the Banana Derby back is progress."
The fair runs until Saturday, October 29th.
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