For Immediate Release:
November 22, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Margate, Fla. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to the members of the Margate City Commission urging them to stop the Broward County Fair’s controversial “Banana Derby”—a rodeo-like spectacle in which terrified capuchin monkeys are chained to dogs who race at high speeds, all in apparent violation of local law.
Margate ordinances require the humane treatment of dogs and prohibit the use of techniques and devices that are likely to injure animals—and monkeys chained to dogs in the “Banana Derby” are violently jerked in all directions, risking whiplash and other serious physical injuries, while the dogs risk being bitten by the monkeys.
“It’s the 21st century, and chaining terrified monkeys to dogs’ backs puts the animals in danger and appalls anyone who knows and respects wildlife,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on city leaders to stop this cruel spectacle and never allow another shameful animal event like the ‘monkey rodeo’ again.”
If the “Banana Derby” continues, members of Animal Hero Kids and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida will protest the fair on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to the members of the Margate City Commission follows.
November 22, 2021
Antonio V. Arserio, Mayor of Margate
Anthony N. Caggiano, Vice Mayor of Margate
Honorable Commissioners, Margate City Commission
Re: Ending the Cruel “Banana Derby” at the Broward County Fair
Dear Mayor Arserio, Vice Mayor Caggiano, and Commissioners:
I’m writing on behalf of PETA, and its more than 391,000 members and supporters in Florida—including over 36,000 in Broward—to urge you to cancel the cruel “Banana Derby” taking place on city property at the Broward County Fair through December 5.
During these cruel spectacles, capuchin monkeys are chained to dogs who race at high speeds. As the dogs start and stop abruptly, the monkeys are violently jerked in all directions, risking whiplash and other serious physical injury. The dogs may inadvertently run into the fences, poles, and walls, and the stressed monkeys may scratch or bite them. Experts have reported that monkeys forced to perform in these chaotic shows exhibit fear, anxiety, resignation, and learned helplessness.
Under Margate’s ordinances, it is unlawful to fail to provide a dog “safe and humane conditions.” Code of the City of Margate § 6-89(a)(1). The law also prohibits “painful techniques and devices, that may cause or are likely to cause, physical injury, torment, or pain and suffering to animals,” including “wire tie-downs” or “chains used as tie-downs.” Id. § 6-25(b). The Banana Derby appears to violate both of these ordinances. Forcing dogs to run laps with agitated monkeys strapped to their backs is unsafe and inhumane for the dogs, who risk being injured by these conditions. Moreover, the chains that tether the animals together and the high speeds and abrupt stops are devices and techniques that are likely to cause physical injury and torment to the animals.
Under the temporary use agreement that the Broward County Fair signed with the city, the fair agreed to “comply with all ordinances, laws, statutes and regulations promulgated thereunder of all county, municipal, state, federal, and other governmental authorities.” By bringing the Banana Derby to Margate, the fair appears to be in violation of its agreement with the city. PETA urges you to require the fair to remove this cruel act immediately, and to ensure that no “monkey rodeo” is ever allowed to visit Margate.
Very truly yours,
Rachel Mathews, Esq.
Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement