The Frederick Keys have scheduled a Cowboy Monkey Rodeo as part of their May 31 game — an event they have held annually for some years.
As a Frederick County homeowner and a lover of both baseball and animals, I urge the Keys to stop this archaic and cruel practice.
Cowboy Monkey Rodeos involve dressing capuchin monkeys in cowboy outfits and tethering them to saddles on the backs of border collies who run at high speeds around a field herding sheep. A Humane Society of the U.S. fact sheet says the dogs can reach speeds of 30 mph and abruptly turn or stop, causing the monkeys to violently jerk forwars and backward and slide wildly from side to side.
Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard, who runs the Monkey Rodeo under the name Team Ghost Riders, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act. At one point, his truck lost a muffler on a road trip and all his animals died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 2016, Pat O’Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, said: “Minor League Baseball neither supports nor encourages the practice of using animal acts of any kind, especially animal acts for which the Humane Society has expressed serious concerns, to entertain our great fans.”
Frederick is a small city with big-city sophistication. Many people find Monkey Rodeos offensive — and we have so many better ways to entertain ourselves in this day and age!
According to the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, the Frederick Keys are among the last teams to continue hosting Monkey Rodeos, after dozens of baseball teams and fairs have stopped. It is time for the Keys to also stop these archaic and cruel shows, and move into the 21st century.