On 6th February 2024, the animal rights organisation PETA sent a letter to Aaron Landrum, president and CEO of Wichita-based Chance Rides, the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in the US, asking that the company end the production and sale of animal-themed roundabouts that normalise the use of animals such as horses or elephants as conveyances and amusements and instead produce carousel figures in the shape of cars, aeroplanes, spaceships, bulldozers, and other vehicles.

Animals used for rides and other forms of entertainment are often beaten into submission, deprived of everything natural and important to them, and even slaughtered once their bodies wear out, so this abuse should not be emulated in children’s attractions as it perpetuates it. This miseducates children making them believe that exploiting animals is not only allowed but it is fun.

Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President, said in a press release, “Children learn through play, and teaching them to have respect and compassion for all living, feeling beings can help create a more just and merciful world. 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 the Netherlands, the Efteling amusement park is one of the biggest in Europe, and it is home to several carousels, including the oldest roundabout in the Netherlands (first built in 1865, with 16 horses, two sleighs, a hen and a lion). Janneke Hogervorst, PETA Netherlands advisor, has been communicating with this park about this issue. She said, “If it would go so far as to say it was thinking about [change], then we would start a very important discussion. Times change.” In 2021, the Efteling undertook a huge renovation program after years of critical comments about “racial stereotyping” in some of its rides and removed the “Monsieur Cannibale” attraction, so perhaps they could continue progressing. A spokesperson from Efteling seemed open-minded as told the AD it found the discussion an “interesting and special” one to follow, and that it is “very important” that there are organisations that campaign for animal rights. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.