Group to protest elephant attraction at Durham Fair - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Group to protest elephant attraction at Durham Fair

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DURHAM, CT (WFSB) -

Fried dough, sheep, tractor pulls and elephants? All of that can be found at the Durham Fair this year, and some said those elephants just don't belong.

Activists tried to stop them from coming at all, and now they're planning a peaceful protest at the fair this weekend.

A Facebook page popped up almost as soon as fair organizers announced the Elephant Encounter would be part of the festivities this year. The page encourages people to sign a petition, put up signs and head to the fair themselves on Saturday to protest the elephant.

A petition was already sent to fair organizers with nearly 3,000 signatures hoping to ban the show. They said they're concerned for the well-being of the elephants after seeing a video of Bill Morris, the elephants' owner, using a bullhook on one of them in 2003, and then the animal made a loud noise.

But the owner said the show will go on.

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

But Morris said his animals actually fare better in captivity, and said 35,000 elephants have been poached this year in the wild.

"Her lifespan in the wild is approximately 35 years," Morris said. "She's 52."

Morris said he doesn't know the protesters, and said he's sorry that they feel the way that they do.

Protesters plan to be across the street from the fair on Saturday.

The fair opens Thursday and closes Sunday.

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