18 January 2017

Urge Chamber of Commerce to Eliminate Ostrich Races at Chandler Ostrich Festival

Ostriches pulling chariots around a track
Ostrich Festival in Chandler, Arizona (photo: afterglow~spins )

On March 10-12, 2017, the Chandler Arizona Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Ostrich Festival. Begun in 1989, the festival hires an animal supplier to provide ostriches, emus, camels and zebras to be raced, chased, harnessed to a vehicle, or ridden rodeo-style. The Chamber describes the ostrich races: “Professional riders take the reins of a chariot or ride the large birds bareback around a race track.”

Tension between Chandler’s evolving high-tech industry and the city’s vanishing rural past was a theme of last year’s Arizona Republic coverage. Chandler, a town southeast of Phoenix, is now “more of a mecca for information technology corporations than for farmers of large birds,” the Arizona Republic reported.

Last year’s festival featured many new animal-free attractions including a racing game of motorized, remote-controlled cars and a Batman and Superman Show “about bullying,” presumably showing children that real heroes do not act like bullies. Yet the ostrich races and other animal attractions bully and ridicule captive birds and other animals to perform dangerous, demeaning and unnatural acts.

Ostriches and emus are the oldest living birds on earth. In their natural habitats, these fleet-footed nomads, designed by 90 million years of evolution to roam vast desert spaces and survey the land with their large brilliant eyes in all directions at once, are stately, dignified birds devoted to their families. The ostrich festival strips them of their dignity, puts them in danger, and makes fun of them. Ostriches and emus are not suited by temperament or anatomy to pull chariots and be ridden by “cowboys.” Their large fragile eyes, long necks and legs are easily injured.

Once said to draw 250,000 visitors, the Ostrich Festival now attracts about 100,000 people, according to the Chamber of Commerce. A local activist told UPC last year, “The event does raise a great deal of money, yet they came up with new events this year, so they need to take the high road and create more events and get out of the animal abuse entertainment business.”

For more information about ostriches and emus, please visit our Ostriches & Emus webpage.

Join the Protest

* This year United Poultry Concerns is coordinating festival protest demonstrations with Arizona activists. If you can participate, please contact Robert Franklin by email at yyhwz@hotmail.com or by phone at 480-440-4376 - cell phone (call or text).

What Can I Do?

* Urge the Chandler Chamber of Commerce to cancel the ostrich races and make the festival a positive event that respects the life and feelings of all creatures. Just as Chandler’s evolution to a high tech center has benefited the town, so the Ostrich Festival can evolve to a lucrative attraction in which ostrich races and their like are relegated to a past that no longer reflects the evolving consciousness of today’s society toward animals. Respectfully request a written reply to your concerns.


Terri Kimble, President/CEO
Chandler Chamber of Commerce
25 S. Arizona Place, Suite 201
Chandler, AZ 85225
Phone: 480-963-4571  or  800-963-4571
Fax: 480-963-0188
Email: terri@chandlerchamber.com
Chamber Email: info@chandlerchamber.com

Nick Debus, Public Policy & Government Relations
Email: nick@chandlerchamber.com

Sarah Miranda, Special Events & Programs
Email: sarahm@chandlerchamber.com

Lee Hines, Accounting & Finance
Email: finance@chandlerchamber.com

Michael Beagle, Digital Media & Training Manager
Email: michael@chandlerchamber.com

Paulette Pacioni, Marketing & Communications
Email: paulette@chandlerchamber.com

Brenda Whipple, Business Development
Email: Brenda@chandlerchamber.com

Barbara Caravella, Business Development
Email: Barbara@chandlerchamber.com

Yvonne Torres, Administrative Assistant
Email: info@chandlerchamber.com

Mary Ann Przybylski, Director of Special Events & Programs, and Sponsorships
Email: maryann@chandlerchamber.com

Sarah Bruner, Business Development
Email: sarahb@chandlerchamber.com

You can post a message to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce through their website by clicking on Contact Us at:

You can also reach them through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChandlerChamber
Twitter: www.twitter.com/chandlerchamber

All letters, phone calls and Internet messages to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce should be polite, caring, respectful and concerned. Our goal is to make the world a more just, enlightened, and compassionate place – and to eliminate the Ostrich Races!