PETA Tells Nevada School to Dump Donkey Basketball
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not happy about a Nevada school fundraiser in which a game of basketball includes players riding on donkeys.
PETA has issued an "action alert" on its Web site, asking concerned humans to contact Lyon County School District Superintendent Caroline McIntosh and Yerington High School Principal Jerry Ogolin to tell them to cancel the Donkey Basketball fundraiser scheduled for March 1 at the Nevada school.
The Associated Press reports that superintendent McIntosh has no plans to cancel Donkey Basketball, which is described as "a tradition" at Yerington High School, but that she will make an effort to "to ensure [the donkeys] are treated humanely."
Here's a video from YouTube of a donkey basketball event from 2007.
So is this just a bit of harmless fun? Not according to PETA. The group says donkey basketball encourages kids to be cruel, and that the game also is dangerous for the human players. A story on the PETA's Web site says "donkeys who are mistreated or forced into loud, confusing environments can become frightened and may lash out to protect themselves," and that bipedal donkey basketball participants have been injured more than once during these events.
Buckeye Donkey Ball, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one company that offers a number of donkey-related games, including Donkey Basketball, Donkey Baseball and Donkey Racing.
According to a contract posted on its Web site, Buckeye Donkey Ball takes at least half of the profits from the sponsoring school or organization. "After deducting only admission taxes, if any, BUCKEYE will receive 60 percent of all ticket sales or a $1,200.00 minimum payment, whichever is greater. When ticket sales exceed $3,000.00 BUCKEYE will receive 50 percent of all ticket sales," the site states.
This is why PETA says Donkey Basketball also fails as a fundraiser.
As for potential donkey dangers, Buckeye Donkey Ball requires all participants to sign a waiver, which does contain some language about how the donkeys should be treated. For example, "Players MUST NOT pull hair, ears or tails of donkeys or each other. Use caution when catching a donkey and please stay off his rear end at all times." As for the humans, "Please do not push or pull anyone from their donkey."
PETA offers suggestions for fundraisers it feels are less cruel, such as "rubber-duck derby races," which, according to group, raised $133,000 for three Oregon Rotary Clubs.
What do you think? Is donkey basketball cruel? Are there better ways for schools to raise money? Perhaps a Donkey Kong tournament?
Related: Michelle Obama Unwittingly Stars in PETA Anti-Fur Ad
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