"On one occasion I saw and sketched a female tending her hatchlings. The young will get careful attention from both male and female adults before they develop the necessary independence to be on the move with the family group."John Seerey-Lester
On March 12, 1995, activists from Arizona People for Animal Rights (APAR) made history when over 35 members staged the nation's first-ever protest against the brutal ostrich industry at the Ostrich Festival in Chandler, AZ--site of infamous chariot races, in which the terrified birds are forced to pull a chariot at breakneck speed in a cramped area.
Hundreds of festivalgoers learned of the hidden cruelties of the industry as dozens of APAR activists, signs and leaflets in hand, entered the festival grounds and passed out over a thousand pieces of literature, while inside the racing arena 3 particularly noisy activists were busy giving festival organizers a headache as they handcuffed themselves to the announcer's podium, unfurled a pro-animal banner, and chanting, "There's No Excuse For Animal Abuse!" refused to leave the arena--stopping the ostrich races!
Over 5,000 people watched as angry festival organizers, failing in their attempts to forcefully eject the handcuffed activists, turned to local police, who arrested the three on disorderly conduct charges and transported them to jail, where they were released 8 hours later after posting $250.00 bond each. With exposure in over 21 different media outlets, the protest against animal cruelty was big news in the normally sleepy city of Chandler. The action received attention from all the major TV stations, newspapers and radio shows in the area--attention the Ostrich Festival would like to forget. Don't let them forget! Please write the festival organizers and tell them to stop exploiting ostriches. Contact: Steve Vrieck, Chandler Chamber of Commerce, 218 N. Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ 85224 (ph: 602-963-4571).--Joyce DePalma is president of APAR (745 N. Gilbert Rd, Suite 124-184, Gilbert AZ 85234. ph: 602-813-2727).
A follow-up op-ed article by Roberta S. Wright in the Mesa Tribune said, "Newspaper articles and opinions were very positive regarding the use of ostriches for entertainment and food; [however] any picture that does not include the human side of owning these birds, the side that is base, self-serving, greedy, cruel and completely indifferent to suffering, is terribly incomplete. And yet, that is where the real story is."
To order prints of "The Hatchlings," call 1-800-699-9693.