PETA targets Kansas company over carousels with animal designs

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Riding a carousel can bring back favorite childhood memories — the distinctive music, the dizzying sensations and the intricately painted horses and other animals.
Would a carousel ride be as memorable if the animals were removed?
Carousel horse at Chance Rides in Wichita, KS. (KSN News Photo)
On Tuesday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced it wants carousels to no longer have animal designs. PETA is directing its concerns to a Wichita, Kansas, company known for its beautiful carousels.
Chance Rides is the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in the country.
PETA says it sent a letter to the company’s president on Tuesday asking him to end the production and sale of “animal-themed carousels that normalize the use of animals as conveyances and amusements.”
The group suggests replacing animals with vehicles, such as cars, airplanes, spaceships and bulldozers, or with whimsical designs such as rainbows, shooting stars and brooms.
Nexstar’s KSN News contacted Chance Rides by phone and email but has not heard back.
PETA says children learn through play.
“Teaching them to have respect and compassion for all living, feeling beings can help create a more just and merciful world,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a news release. “PETA urges Chance Rides and all other carousel manufacturers to hit the brakes on old-fashioned animal-themed rides and embrace designs that engage children’s imagination and showcase human talent.”
In her letter to Chance Rides CEO Aaron Landrum, Newkirk said the understanding of animals has evolved over the decades.
“Animal-themed carousels unintentionally celebrate the exploitation of sentient beings,” she wrote.
Newkirk’s letter says that live animals being used for amusement are sometimes abused and killed. She said all animals are thinking, feeling, affectionate, playful and social beings that crave freedom from oppression.
“Animal-themed carousel sets reinforce the notion that these sentient beings are simply here for our entertainment, rather than individuals with the same capacity to experience fear, pain, joy, and love as any of us,” she wrote.
According to PETA, other companies have updated their designs after the group got involved.
Newkirk put these examples in her letter to Chance Rides:
2018 – Nabisco replaced the design of caged animals on its Barnum’s Animals Crackers
2019 – Trader Joe’s changed the packaging on several products to remove images of elephants performing
2023 – Dukal Corporation stopped selling bandages that showed circus animals
“Millions of people worldwide are calling for an end to the exploitation of animals in entertainment, including using horses, camels, and others as if they were living taxis,” Newkirk wrote. “Would you kindly pledge to stop promoting this abuse by no longer producing carousel figures in animal forms? Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.”

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