Sheep’s Escape From ‘Monkey Rodeo’ During Baseball Game Prompts Appeal to Feds

PETA Asks Authorities to Crack Down on 'Team Ghost Riders,' Which Forces Monkeys to Ride on Dogs' Backs During Seventh-Inning Stretch

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

State College, Pa. – Following reports that a sheep used by Team Ghost Riders—a traveling “monkey rodeo” exhibition in which terrified capuchin monkeys are strapped or chained to dogs who chase sheep around a baseball field—escaped and ran onto the field during a recent State College Spikes game, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate Team Ghost Riders for apparent federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the AWA requires that animals be handled in a manner that does not cause them behavioral stress and that there always be sufficient distance or barriers between animals and the public.

“These ‘monkey rodeos’ are inherently stressful for all the animals involved, and this sheep suffered the additional distress of being chased around a baseball field in the middle of a game,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the authorities to hold Team Ghost Riders accountable for endangering both this sheep and the public.”

Monkeys used for traveling exhibits are typically torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and spend their lives in cages. They are deprived of psychological and social stimulation, exercise, and the opportunity to engage in natural behavior, such as exploring, seeking mates, raising young, and foraging.

Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner recently issued a statement discouraging the organization’s teams from using any animals for entertainment during game-day promotions, and numerous teams—including Pennsylvania’s Williamsport Crosscutters—have agreed never to host “monkey rodeos” again.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind