EDITORIAL: Let's keep 'Rodeo' out of York for good

York Dispatch
  • The “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” will not appear at PeoplesBank Park during the 2017 baseball season.
  • The "Cowboy Monkey Rodeo" last appeared in York during the 2016 season.
  • That appearance led to protests by animal-rights activists and the loss of the event sponsor.

The “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” will not appear at PeoplesBank Park during the 2017 baseball season.

The reason that the controversial event will not appear this year is a matter of debate.

York Revolution officials say the team rarely repeats entertainment acts in back-to-back seasons.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claims protests during the 2016 York appearance of the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” convinced Revs’ officials to discontinue the promotion, which the team has featured three times in all.

The "Cowboy Monkey Rodeo" will not appear at PeoplesBank Park in York during the 2017 Revolution season.

In the end, the reason that the promotion will not appear in 2017 is not really important.

What is important is that capuchin monkeys will not ride dogs that herd sheep in York this summer.

That’s a good thing.

While watching monkeys riding dogs might appear like a fun event at first blush, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the activity can be very dangerous for the monkeys.

'Cowboy monkey rodeo' not scheduled for Revs 2017 season

According to information provided by the Humane Society of the United States, “the dogs can reach speeds of up 30 mph and abruptly stop, start, turn, lie down and stand up, causing the monkey to be violently jerked forward and backward and to slide wildly from side to side."

The monkeys can be "subjected to high, repetitive head accelerations — similar to what rodeo participants or passengers involved in motor vehicle accidents experience — the monkeys are especially vulnerable to neck injuries, such as whiplash. The dog may also inadvertently run the monkey into objects, such as walls, fences and poles," the society said.

Putting animals at risk for our enjoyment seems unnecessary at best and cruel at worst.

Revs officials, for their part, are saying that the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” could appear again in York in the future.

“If (event organizer Tim Lepard) was really abusing animals, I’m very confident that the appropriate governmental authorities would step in,” Revs’ president and general manager Eric Menzer said.

Menzer said that has not happened.

Still, even if Revs officials don’t believe the act is cruel, they should permanently sideline the promotion for one simple reason — it’s bad business.

During the 2016 controversial appearance, The Lube Center pulled out as event sponsor after activists claimed the animals were abused.

It’s likely that if the promotion appears again in York, attracting a new sponsor could be a major issue. In addition, protesters are again likely to make their feelings known — loudly — outside the ballpark.

Is that really the image that the family-friendly Revs organization would like to foster?

We think not.

There are a myriad of other promotional activities for the team to choose from.

It seems simple enough. Just don’t bring back the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo.”

The team doesn’t need to make a grand announcement that it’s banned the act. That would likely unnecessarily anger those who, in a reflexive knee-jerk response, oppose anything that PETA is in favor of.  The Revs probably don’t want to align themselves with the divisive animal-rights organization.

That’s understandable.

An announced ban is not needed. Just don’t bring back the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” — ever.

It’s the right thing to do.

Hopefully, the 2016 appearance will be the last rodeo for the "Cowboy Monkey Rodeo" in York.