A classic attraction is under fire. The age-old merry-go-rounds, often found at fairs and amusement parks, use animals as “a means of transportation or entertainment,” according to PETA. These types of mills often depict animals such as horses, elephants or tigers. The animal rights organization suggests replacing the animals with “cars, planes, spaceships, bulldozers and other vehicles or fantasy means of transport such as shooting stars, rainbows or brooms,” it said.
The Dutch branch of PETA has made a call to the Efteling, where, among other things, there is a large, classic steam carousel with horses and pigs. “The Efteling has an exemplary role and an enormous influence on other amusement parks. If it simply indicates that it is considering this or wants to think about it, then we are starting a very important discussion,” Janneke Hogervorst told Algemeen Dagblad on behalf of PETA.
“The Efteling has an exemplary function. If it just indicates that it is considering this, then we are starting a very important discussion.”
Efteling itself also responded to the call. A spokesperson there calls it “a particularly interesting discussion”. The Dutch theme park does not yet know whether anything will actually change. “We continue to monitor developments closely,” the spokesperson told Algemeen Dagblad.
“Children learn through play, and by teaching them to have respect and compassion for all living and sentient beings, we create a just and compassionate world,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. PETA also sent a letter to Chance Rides, the largest carousel manufacturer in the United States, but at the same time calls on all other carousel manufacturers to ban animal images in the future.
Also in Belgium?
Now that PETA is also exerting pressure in the Netherlands on one of the largest players in the amusement park sector, the question arises: Will the merry-go-round with animal figures also disappear from Belgian fairs and amusement parks in the foreseeable future? “For us, this matter is certainly not a priority,” says Ann De Greef, director of GAIA. “We live in a world where many animals suffer every day due to, among other things, intensive livestock farming, which is why our agenda unfortunately does not allow us to deal with matters such as these.”
“We live in a world where many animals suffer every day, which is why our agenda unfortunately does not allow us to deal with issues like this”
Yet De Greef also sees something positive in PETA’s demand. “I understand why PETA does it, because it affects our perception of animals,” she says. “That is why we also ask influencers not to post photos of dogs with a flat snout, for example.” She also emphasizes that PETA has many members internationally, which means they can work on these types of issues. Something that GAIA does not have time for with its number of members.