Two Camels named Sampson and Artie tried to escape from the “petting zoo” of Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio, US, making families of visitors run for their safety as the animals galloped down the midway. A few days later, a herd of goats from the zoo also got loose after becoming frightened and ran through the park.

The animal rights organisation PETA said this about the incident: “Forcing animals to endure noisy crowds under the terrifying roar of roller coasters deprives them of everything that’s natural and meaningful to their lives and is a severe stressor that interferes with their physical and mental health and well-being. Treating them as theme park attractions is a form of speciesism—a human-supremacist worldview. Camels are dangerous animals who have killed humans after escaping from venues like this one. Petting zoos are also hotbeds of disease, and similar attractions have been responsible for E. coli and salmonella outbreaks. Hundreds of people have been sickened and several children have died from infections linked to petting zoos.”

PETA has now created a petition for people to write to the park and ask them to close its zoo, as they do not need it to attract visitors and it is causing a great deal of suffering for many animals who should not be kept in an environment which clearly distresses them. 

The letter the petitioners would be sending to the management of the park reads, “I was appalled to hear that animals have repeatedly escaped from Cedar Point, endangering themselves and the public. Animals don’t belong in busy theme parks or beneath noisy roller coasters, so I’m urging you to shut down the petting zoo and send the animals to reputable sanctuaries. People don’t go to Cedar Point because it has a petting zoo—they go for the roller coasters and rides. Hundreds of venues across the country have committed to offering only animal-free entertainment, and Cedar Point even ended its cruel dolphin shows years ago. Please, stop making animals suffer in the shadows of your roller coasters. Thank you.”

Sign the pledge to Not Visit Zoos:

Jordi Casamitjana
“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’.