Following the death of a pony at the recent Chincoteague, VA- annual Pony Swim, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is waging a full assault on the Eastern Shore town. The organizers of the annual charity event — the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company— however, aren't giving up the fight and are pushing back against unfair attacks.
PETA's president Ingrid Newkirk said, “This pony’s needless death is the latest proof that continuing to pen ponies and auction off their foals makes the Chincoteague fire department look increasingly backwards, reckless, and cruel.”
Here's more about the pony's death:
Officials say another pony named Riptide was chasing Butterfly Kisses in the pen at the carnival grounds. As Butterfly Kisses ran, she slipped and fell and slid into a fence, breaking her neck. Officials say there was no chance of survival. She was euthanized and buried on Assateague.
The contention is over whether or not pony penning events are "ethical." In a statement released by the group's public relations representative, Denise P. Bowden., she had this to say about the recent death of pony Butterfly Kisses:
We are aware of the untruths that PETA has stated in their latest attempt to fool the general public about our Pony Penning events. In their last letter to us which by the way was sent to me through a newspaper reporter, it wasn‘t emailed to me or mailed to me (unless it’s at the post office as I write this), they claim that one of our mares, Butterfly Kisses, was “chased into” the pen. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was already in the pen and had been there for over 24hrs. We have eye witnesses to prove otherwise. This is the same pen that she has been in numerous of times without incident. They also claim that we “force” them to swim. I have photos to prove that the ponies swim all the time on their own. They also claim that while in the care of the fire Company during round ups that the ponies aren’t provided shade. Again, false and we have photos to prove that we provide shade when necessary. They also claim that while during round ups that no fresh water or food is provided to them. Again, false. There are at least a dozen water troughs at the carnival ground pens and hay is placed quite generously throughout the pen. Again, we have photos to prove that. While these ponies are out in the wild, they also have access to fresh water troughs in case the freshwater ponds are dry in the summer or frozen in the winter. During the winter, extra feed is provided to them. Twice a year, there are two complete vet checks. At these times the ponies get de-wormed, vaccinated for eastern and western west Nile disease, hooves checked, teeth checked and much more. All of the ponies that live out in the wild on the Virginia side of Assateague are microchipped with meticulously kept records of each one. When one is reported to be injured, someone from the pony committee is on the scene within usually a half hour. If the pony needs more care then the pony is brought over by trailer and seen by our vets. Same if a pony is sick. If the pony cannot recover then the pony is humanely euthanized and given a proper burial, not just tossed out on the marsh. At auction, the vet decides which ones can leave their mares at which time. If they are too young, then they go back with their mares until the fall. When each foal leaves our care and goes with their new families, a coggins test is done as well. Once again, while these ponies mean a great deal to the Fire Company, the town and the county financially, we are also human beings who see these gorgeous animals as the beautiful creatures they are and we handle them with the care and respect they deserve. If we did not do this event, these animals would end up over populating, eat themselves out of house and home, suffer diseases and injuries without any help at all. These are the facts about how we do what we do.
Now, I’m just going to throw out some facts about PETA so everyone can be as educated as PETA thinks to
hey are about us. Since 1998 PETA has killed more than 36,000 animals. 95.9% of animals under PETA's care have been killed in one year! Yes, one year! PETA has handed out literature to children with a graphic comic stating that “your mommy kills animals“ while also funding arsonist and terrorist groups. Their own president, Ingrid Newkirk, stated “ it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether”. Would really love to know if she has any pets herself. In October 2014, members of PETA drove their van to the small town of Parksley, VA right here on the eastern shore and stole a pet dog off the porch of a family by coaxing the dog off the porch with treats. Within hours, the dog was killed. PETA broke two laws that day, larceny and euthanizing an animal before the 5 hold period that is the law for kill-shelters. The family ultimately sued PETA and PETA settled the case with the family for $49,000 dollars. In 2014, PETA killed 2,324 animals of the 2,626 it had acquired. It had a 1% adoption rate. A former PETA field worker testified that workers were mislead in the field, they were told to lie as much as possible to gain access to an animal under the ruse that the animal would be sent out for immediate adoption but instead were immediately taken to a kill room. One worker quit on the spot when witnessing healthy, vibrant animals in the kill room. Another former field worker testified the PETAS objective was to get as many animals as possible and the vast majority was killed. She then testified that she was told to lie by her immediate supervisors to gain access to any animals and then told the same by President Ingrid Newkirk.
I've visited Chincoteague Island here in Virginia. It's a beautiful, seaside town full of history. It perhaps renowned for the annual Pony Swim. This event is a staple down there—one that attracts overwhelming support.
PETA is an extremist group that kills more animals than any other animal welfare organizations out there. Sadly, we should have low expectations for this group given their bizarre scare tactics.
Leave these nice folks alone and let them do their Pony Swim in peace.