PETA Seeks to Ban Minor League Baseball’s Monkey Rodeos

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 11: Rodeo: National Finals, View of monkey riding dog, animal at Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV 12/11/2004 (Photo by Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (SetNumber: X72462 TK4)

One of the promotional events held by minor league baseball teams everywhere could face extinction if PETA gets its way. The animal-rights activists want to officially ban MiLB’s famed “monkey rodeos.”

These promotional exhibitions usually feature monkeys dressed as cowboys, sitting atop a dog, and rounding up goats or other farm animals.

But now, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the director of the minor leagues demanding that the teams put a halt to what PETA calls “cruel events.”

“During these cruel events,” PETA said in its letter, “capuchin monkeys are forced into costumes, tethered to dogs, and made to ‘race’ around a track. The monkeys cling desperately to the dogs, who can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and are trained to start and stop abruptly so that the monkeys are violently jerked up and down and side to side, risking serious physical injury.”

The group further claims that one of the companies putting on the monkey rodeos, Tim Lepard’s Team Ghost Riders, has been “cited repeatedly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.”

PETA also insists that the promoters have removed all teeth from the monkeys, something they call a “cruel practice.”

The group wraps up its letter saying monkeys are “wild animals” that “can never truly be tamed” and people in the public won’t stand for how these animals are treated during the frequent MiLB promotions.

“We urge MiLB to ban monkey rodeos MiLB events and to encourage the teams to host only humane activities that are respectful of animals,” Julia Gallucci of PETA concludes.

For its part, the MiLB already says that it doesn’t encourage teams to hire these promotional exhibitions.

According to, MiLB president and CEO Pat O’Connor said his organization does not encourage the animal acts.

“Minor League Baseball neither supports nor encourages the practice of using animal acts of any kind, especially animal acts for which the Humane Society has expressed serious concerns, to entertain our great fans,” O’Connor said in a statement. “We encourage clubs to ensure that the promotions they host do not endanger the health or safety of any animal, but respect the rights of our teams to make decisions regarding their promotional events at the local level.”

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