Please Write a Letter to the Editor of AARP Re: Ostrich Race Ad
(See below for talking points)
From the March/April 2005 AARP Magazine (Navigator-Events section)
"Big Bird Bash. What do you do with a 10-foot, 400-pound bird that doesn’t fly? You ride it – at 40mph – in a one-eighth-mile race at the Annual Ostrich Festival in Chandler, Arizona. And what bird-watching weekend is complete without hors d’oeuvres like ostrich jerky? March 11-13; 480-963-4571; www.ostrichfestival.com."
Send your letter to:
AARP The Magazine
601 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
Include your name, address, and phone number.
Ostrich races are based on forcing large, wild birds with their long, fragile necks and easily broken legs to run hooked to loaded chariots or to run with men on their backs. Often the birds trip and fall from sheer terror and exhaustion. Ostriches can be injured and killed as a result of being forced to pull a chariot or be ridden at high speed in a cramped area. The miles-wide vision of ostriches is totally unsuited to this abnormal situation.
Ostriches (and emus) belong to the oldest living family of birds on earth, the flightless fowl. They are desert-dwelling nomads designed by 90 million years of evolution to roam over vast tracts of land. If they appear awkward in captivity, it’s because these birds are meant for wide open spaces.
Ostriches grow to be 7 to 9 feet tall, and live for 40 to 70 years, roaming the grasslands and deserts of their native Africa in small, scattered herds. Ostriches are herbivorous birds: They live on grass, berries, succulents, seeds and leaves. Their upper eyelids are fringed with tiny feathers that look like long eyelashes to protect their eyes from the fierce desert sun.
Ostriches form close family bonds. The male ostrich performs a beautiful courtship dance for the female with outstretched, swaying wings. While as many as 6 ostrich hens may lay up to 40 eggs in a shared nest, the hens can tell their eggs from the other eggs in the nest. Both parents help their chicks to hatch by pecking at the shell after 6 weeks of incubation. The family stays together for 10 months or more as the young birds learn to fend for themselves. The normally peaceful ostriches will kick with their legs and bite with their beaks to protect their eggs and young from enemies. Subjecting ostriches with their long thin necks and legs and their large fragile eyes to dangerous and demeaning rituals is cruel.
For more information about ostriches and emus, including the live feather-pulling and factory-farming they’re subjected to, visit www.upc-online.org/ostriches.
For our brochure, "Nowhere to Hide," send a SASE to:
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405 USA