Animal activists fairground controversy

PETA argues against classic fairground ride

Fairground carousel. Credit: Lazy_Bear/

Is it time for a change in the carousel tradition? Advocates for animal rights argue that British fairgrounds should cease using animal figures on carousels as it promotes exploitation.

Recently, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) proposed that fairgrounds could instead highlight human achievements. They suggested a shift towards featuring mechanical objects and other fantastical designs.

A new vision for carousels

Peta spokesperson, Elisa Allen suggested: ‘It would be wonderful to see UK fairgrounds replace animal-shaped carousel figures with vehicles such as cars, unicycles, tractors, aeroplanes, rockets, and bulldozers – or more whimsical designs like shooting stars, rainbows, or brooms.’

The animal rights campaigners have voiced the same concerns in the Netherlands and also contacted the American company Chances Rides, arguing that depicting animals in carousels inadvertently glorifies the exploitation of sentient beings.

Backlash and historical perspective

The message on PETA’s Twitter/X account reads: ‘PETA is all for amusement ride makers, but we want them to build exciting carousels that don’t normalise the use of animals.’

‘The last thing we are is anti-business—we just know the value of respectful depictions that make the rides more exciting & not exploitative.’

However, the sentiment was not sheared by many members of the public, Jeanine wrote: ‘Well done, you’ve lost another supporter with your idiotic ideas. And because of that, less real animals will be helped and it’s all your fault for trying to save toy ones!’

‘Have you lost your minds ?’ wrote one individual, ‘Leave deeply mythic traditional fairground rides alone. Pick on a real target – Halal,’ said another.

Oscar posted: ‘You are going to make yourselves a laughing stock with this nonsense. Whoever had this fab idea needs immediate counselling! Don’t lose focus! Sane people don’t associate wooden horses with real ones.’

Nigel Farage labelled PETA as overzealous, and also predicted that environmental activists would probably oppose replacing horses with aeroplanes on carousels.

Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s co-founder, argued that animal-themed rides teach children to view animals merely as objects of entertainment. ‘Animal-themed carousel sets reinforce the notion that these sentient beings are simply here for our entertainment, rather than individuals with the same capacity to experience fear, pain, joy, and love as any of us.’

She added: ‘Peta urges Chance Rides and all other carousel manufacturers to hit the brakes on old-fashioned animal-themed rides and embrace designs that engage children’s imagination and showcase human talent.’

Carousels have a rich history, originally inspired by medieval cavalry games. They have evolved significantly since their inception in 12th-century Europe and Asia, with horses being a staple feature for centuries.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • John McLean

      11 February 2024 • 08:53

      Words fail me!

    • Venerina

      11 February 2024 • 10:51

      Why don’t we just educate children to love and respect animals instead?

      • CCW60

        11 February 2024 • 14:34


    • John Parkinson

      11 February 2024 • 11:18

      Get a proper job in the real world.
      Replace with cars,rockets ,etc
      MM very environmentally friendly

    • Peter Dare

      11 February 2024 • 13:17


    • Mac

      12 February 2024 • 07:13

      John Parkinson was spot on as were the other comments, this is absolute woke nonsense. People better wake up to this kind of comment it is extremely dangerous. All our little pleasures and freedoms are under attack by complete nutters. Imagine replacing horse with ´´highly polluting vehicles´´, we would have the other nutters, Just Stop Oil, they would be demanding an end to kids sitting in cars or on motor bikes because it promote pollution, Sadly the general public do nothing, we just shake our heads and laugh, and say these people are crazy. They are crazy but slowly they are winning because the sane people sit back and make no real effort to fight this nonsense. People wake up because more and more laws are being introduce to curtail your freedoms and you are alowing it to happen, exteremely dangerous for democracy, what little is left of it.

    • Vinci

      12 February 2024 • 09:33

      OMG Words fail me. Woke at its worst

    • Vinci

      12 February 2024 • 09:34

      Perhaps the Woke Watchers will call on my Greatgranddaughter and remover her rocking horse

    • DBath

      12 February 2024 • 09:41

      Absurd and idiotic!

    • Tamba

      15 February 2024 • 10:18

      What an idiotic proposal! “How boring!” said our kids.. The whole point of riding animals on a carousel is because that is something that would never happen in real life. Replace them with planes and race cars, and it won’t be very long before people object to that because it encourages us to increase our carbon emissions. The world is going insane. I’ve always agreed with PETA’s vision to see animal treated ethically, but this nonsense is going to lose them supporters.

    Comments are closed.