Protest planned against elephants at Durham Fair - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Protest planned against elephants at Durham Fair


Some people are upset with an elephant show being held at the Durham Fair, but even with the thousands of signatures on a petition, the controversial event will continue.

A petition was started in hopes of getting officials with the Durham Fair to cancel the Elephant Encounter Show. Signs popped up all over Durham opposing the elephant encounter show.

"We just don't think it represents the values of the fair and the community," said Rachel Gary of Middletown, who opposes the elephant show.

Last month, a group of residents handed a petition with 3,000 signatures to the Durham Fair Association opposing the event.

However, Durham Fair officials said they are standing behind the event's owner, Bill Morris. They said they talked to Morris and were convinced he treats the animals well.

"Our intent here was purely for the educational aspects of having this rare experience of witnessing these awesome animals in a controlled environment," the Durham Fair Association said in a previous statement.

Morris brought his two elephants into Durham Tuesday night. 

Even though the elephants have arrived in Connecticut, a group plans to protest Saturday.

"We will be out just to encourage awareness of the act and help people make an informed decision about what they choose to support," Gary said.

Gary said they're concerned with how the animals are treated after seeing this video of Morris use what's called a bullhook on an elephant in 2003. In the video, the elephant is seen making a loud noise after being hit with the bullhook. 

Eyewitness News talked to the owner of the show about his elephants and the controversy surrounding it.

"I don't know what they're situation is. I don't know them," Morris said. "I'm sorry they feel that way. It's too bad, as I told you earlier, the plight of the elephant is almost over with." 

Morris said 35,000 elephants have been poached this year in the wild, and he said he wants to inform kids and adults about their habitat.

"Her lifespan in the wild is approximately 30 years of age, she's 52," Morris said.

No matter what your stance is on these animals coming, they'll be an attraction starting Thursday at the 94th annual Durham Fair.

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