Okay, not sure if this is somehow "outing" me as a geek, but back in my teens, I loved the Renaissance Festival. The jousting, the singing, the performances, the costumes and the role-playing, the food: in general, the festive mood of it all, and the transportation to a different time and place.
So, I was completely mystified when Born Free USA Program Associate Kate Dylewsky told me that the Maryland Renaissance Festival has elephant and camel rides! How depressing. How foreign. How inappropriate. How dangerous. How cruel. How... well, not festive!
Now, it's particularly odd, because the elephant and camel rides are not well-advertised: almost an afterthought. It's not on the TV commercials. It's tucked away in the back corner of the festival grounds. It's not a defining feature of the event.
But it is also horrible entertainment. Sad for the elephants and camels, risky for the humans. Elephants in these types of performances are often chained for long periods of time, and are surely kept in unnatural conditions. The Born Free U.S.A. Exotic Animal Incidents Database shows that people can be injured in these "rides."