Last week, a giraffe was sent home from the petting zoo at the State Fair of Texas after several visitors documented its poor condition on Facebook.
One woman, Stephanie Coon, posted a video Sunday, Oct. 1, showing the giraffe — which came from Hedrick's Exotic Animal Farm in Nickerson, Kansas — pacing anxiously in its pen.
"I posted this on the Texas State Fair fb page and they deleted it, as well as other posts with more video. This Giraffe needs to be taken out of the state fair," her post read. "They have it in a tiny space and it was bleeding out of his nose and mouth and his chest was cut."
Other Facebook posts, like one the day before by Samantha Tutton, expressed dismay that there were no handlers responding to the animal's plight. "It should not be hitting its head and gushing blood everywhere, while not one handler does anything about it!" Tutton wrote.
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Commenters on these posts encouraged the women to contact People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about what they'd observed. Within two days, Delcianna Winders, PETA Foundation deputy general counsel, released a statement denouncing the fair's zoo:
With its explosive fireworks and boisterous crowds, a fair is the last place a fragile giraffe should be. Loading and transporting these animals is so physically and psychologically distressing that zoological guidelines recommend against it unless absolutely necessary for the giraffes' health and wellbeing. This giraffe's life was put at risk so that someone could make a quick buck, and PETA urges kind people everywhere to stay away from any business that exploits giraffes or other wild animals for money.
After the giraffe was removed, a fair representative told The Dallas Morning News that the animal's disposition had simply been a poor match for the fair. "The giraffe was young, and this was its first show," Karissa Condoianis said. "The environment for this giraffe did not suit its disposition."
However, the removal of the one giraffe in question is not likely to suit PETA — or other animal lovers — as there are plenty of other wild animals on display in the Children's Medical Center Barnyard petting zoo through Oct. 22, when the fair closes.