The county fair is here! The rides, the carnival games, the fried food and fresh lemonade, craft fairs, and the animals. I for one can’t wait. I remember as a child excitedly running up to the petting zoos, petting goats and holding chicks, milking a cow, winning goldfish at games, and riding on camels. I was told as a kid that these animals come from loving homes, with people who take care of them and brought them to the fair to show them off. But now I’m wondering if all of these animals are at the fair ethically, and what they do with them when they’re done.
Many animals in contests are carefully raised by children in 4-H programs, giving them experience in taking care of animals, and learning management and performance skills. They can also make a good amount of money! The animals are then auctioned off, and advertised to buyers with the idea that they are helping the young people of their community, and gaining local meat. Is this unfair to the animals and their handlers? Or is this all part of teaching the next generation of farmers?
Other events, such as petting zoos and camel/horse rides, are a stressful event for animals, in a foreign environment with lots of young children who may not know how to properly act towards an animal. On the flip side, this gives people exposure to animals and how to treat them, and an education about agriculture.
Let us know what you think!