Friday, April 9, 2010

Donkey Basketball

I just can't help myself, I have to repost the following article. I can't help it. The article left my a little dumbfounded, a little amused and a little scared. I found the article at AofA blog along with Mr. Hadricks's comments. Here is a link to the original source to the article.

I am just not sure, yet, on how to comment on this article. I do know that I must dig in my picture archives to retrieve pictures of the last donkey basketball that was held at our local high school for a fundraiser.

Animal rights activists protest donkey basketball
by Ray Lane

SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- Donkey basketball -- is it clean fun, or simply cruel?

On Wednesday night, animal rights activists targeted Snohomish High School, where the popular annual family event took center court.

Simple advice and a pep talk paved the way for the tipoff, and a stampede of action on the court. Eight donkeys jumped into action with players on their backs.

The event was a fundraiser for a senior class graduation party with teachers and staff in black jerseys taking on the students in white.

But not everyone thinks it's fun and games. Animal rights activists quietly protested outside, saying it's simply cruel.

"The donkeys are pushed, kicked, shoved, and prodded to do something that is unnatural for them and confusing," said protester David Schirk.

Some say the event is bad enough, but having it at a school makes it worse.

"I think it sends a really bad message to children on how to raise them and cruelty to animals and to all beings, and what does that teach our children?" said protester Carol Guilbault.

But Bruce Wick, who owns the donkeys, says the animals are well-cared for, and really enjoy playing the game.
They're trained to follow the ball, and go up and down the court.

"When I back into the corral, they're all fighting to see who gets to go," said Wick of Donkey Sports.

To help ease the impact on the hardwood, the donkeys' hooves have rubber padding.

"They're pretty intelligent animals," Wick said. "And if they're sitting around in a small pen or stall all day, they're fighting boredom all that time."

Out on the court, they cut loose.

"It was pretty uncontrollable, but it was a lot of fun. They've got a mind of their own, definitely," said one rider.

"Everybody likes to see somebody look silly, and a lot of times, the donkeys will make the riders look silly," said Wick.

Wick says, overall, donkey basketball is fun and safe. But animal rights groups say event also comes with huge liabilities, because people can get hurt easily.

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