According to PETA, donkey basketball exposes animals to "deafening crowds, blinding lights, and general chaos as they are jerked by the reins, screamed at, whipped, kicked, and ridden frantically by participants striving to score baskets against opposing riders." Additionally, the organization has argued, donkey basketball sends the wrong message to students, reinforcing animal cruelty as acceptable behavior.
Gia Campola, an animal welfare activist who will be heading a protest at the event, agrees. "Why are we regressing to an activity that was popular decades ago and fell out of favor because it's obscene?" Campola said in an interview with Cleveland.com. "Children do pay attention to the actions of the adults around them and do make choices based on what adults deem acceptable... The complete abandonment of compassion shown by exploiting these creatures, accepting the conditions that these animals endure and making money from their exploitation is really not a good gauge for these kids to set their moral compasses by."