Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


School Kicks Cruel Donkey Basketball Game to the Curb

November 2, 2007 News Release

Jackson, Mich.—In Defense of Animals (IDA) is hailing the decision by Lumen Christi High School and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to cancel a donkey basketball fundraiser scheduled for Sunday, November 4. The announcement comes after the school and society were deluged by calls, faxes, and emails from members of IDA and Southeast Michigan Animal Rights Team (SMART) concerned about animal cruelty and the safety of both animals and players.

Donkeys used in basketball games are shipped around the country in cramped conditions and are forced into as many as 300 games each year. In what is more of a free-for-all than a sporting event, students who have no experience with donkeys ride, drag, and jerk the animals around a basketball court. Because students are often more interested in showing off to their classmates than in the animals’ welfare, they yank their tails and ears, yell at them, and hit and kick the helpless donkeys in order to make them move.

On top of the harm done to animals, donkey basketball games also pose a risk to human participants. An Illinois man was awarded $110,000 after being injured in a donkey basketball tournament, and during another game, a Wisconsin state senator fell off of a donkey and broke her leg.

IDA and SMART are now urging the Lumen Christi school board to create a policy banning the use of animals in fundraisers as many cities, counties, and school districts across the country have done.

“Donkey basketball sends children the wrong message,” says Elliot M. Katz, DVM, IDA President. “These events only teach children that the abuse and humiliation of animals is funny. Nowadays, kids need a clear and consistent message from adults that it is immoral to physically abuse others, animal or human. We applaud the committed leaders who responded to our call for concern about the humane treatment of animals.”

‘Donkey Basketball’: Cruelty on the Court


It’s hard to believe that something as absurd as “donkey basketball” still exists in this day and age, but sadly, it’s true. During these cruel “games”—which some schools hold as fundraisers—donkeys are dragged, kicked, and punched by participants who have no animal-handling experience. As if abusing animals and forcing them to participate in these games weren’t bad enough, there’s more: In order to keep them from having “accidents” on the court, donkeys are often deprived of food and water for hours before games. Donkeys are not protected by the federal Animal Welfare Act, and local humane agencies tend to be reluctant to get involved in cruelty cases involving donkeys, since employees typically don’t have any experience working with donkeys or any knowledge about them.

Donkey Basketball ‘Games’ Encourage Kids to Be Cruel

Donkey basketball fundraisers send kids the message that it’s OK to abuse and humiliate those who are weaker than they are. Children who are exposed to animal abuse are taught the dangerous lesson that cruelty is acceptable. Dr. Mel Levine of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote, “Certainly there is nothing more cruel that a child can do to another child than to embarrass him in front of peers. Equally devastating is the practice of exposing an animal to ridicule, laughter, and devaluation. Children should see adults treating animals with dignity and respect at all times.”

Schools from coast to coast have stopped hosting cruel donkey basketball fundraisers because they want to help nurture kind kids, not bullies. The U.S. National Parent-Teacher Association Congress states, “Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their [interactions] with each other.” 

Donkey Basketball: A Dangerous Liability for Humans Too

Like many animals, donkeys who are mistreated or forced into loud, confusing environments can become frightened and may lash out to protect themselves. A participant in a Waterloo, Illinois, donkey basketball game was awarded more than $110,000 for injuries that he sustained in a game, and in another game, a Wisconsin state senator fell off a donkey and broke her leg. In February 2006, a fifth-grade teacher in Florida sued the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the owner of the Dixie Donkey Ball company claiming that she had suffered injuries after being thrown off a donkey at a fundraiser. 

Comment:  It shouldn’t have to take numerous complaints from the public to have these events cancelled, but unfortunately there are enough people who find this ‘entertainment’ acceptable, even today.  So the battle continues.

Terrified, crying donkey forced to parasail for advertising stunt  

July 20, 2010 AFP

MOSCOW: Authorities are opening an animal cruelty inquiry into a stunt on a beach in southern Russia in which a donkey parasailed high over the surf.

Beachgoers got a shock when they looked up to see the donkey soaring high above the Sea of Azov at the weekend. Attached to a parachute, the animal brayed in fear as it circled over the heads of holidaymakers on a beach in the Cossack village of Golubitskaya in the Krasnodar region.

A police spokeswoman said the stunt was part of an impromptu advertising campaign by several entrepreneurs to attract beachgoers to their private beach.

Further news reports: Pictures broadcast on state television showed the donkey taken high into the sky by the stunt, frantically swinging its legs in panic as the speedboat circled around the water. Regional spokesman, Zhelyabin, said a decision on whether to open a criminal animal cruelty case would be made on Friday.

The owner of the donkey, who lives in the nearby town of Temryuk, however has told the authorities he does not see anything wrong in forcing his donkey to fly because the beachgoers "were having fun," Zhelyabin said.  

Russian donkey saved by British tabloid “The Sun”

July 25, 2010 www.examiner.com

The headlines read " We've Saved Her Ass," and it all revolves around the happy ending for a parasailing donkey victim named Anapka.

The tabloid states, " The Sun has now taken Anapka away from her Russian owner, and we promise our readers that she will NEVER be forced to parasail again." Today the donkey has been feasting on apples, cucumbers and sweetcorn being fed to her by Russian contributor Anna Shlyakhtenko.

The Donkey Sanctuary in Britain has offered Anapka a home and sanctuary in a rescue center in Romania where the caretakers are experienced in donkey care. There would likely be too much stress to ship Anapka to the UK. The Donkey Sanctuary's spokesperson was disappointed the owner was not charged with cruelty, and stated all of this and the lack of a legal consequence sends a message for those who do not care about humane animal care.

Brigitte Bardot, French actress and animal activist has written to the Russian authorities stating her anger that the owner of the donkey and the people responsible for this stunt have not been charged with animal cruelty too. 

Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp said he is “sickened by the actions of the scumbag who treated Anapka so badly,” referring to owner Vasily Gorobets. “If I had my way, I'd throw the idiot in prison. He should be prosecuted for what he's done.” The soft-hearted sportsman said that he loves animals, “almost as much as I love football.” And that Anapka’s plight had moved him to tears.  

Comment: Despite world condemnation of this twisted and sickening ‘stunt,’ including online petitions asking for cruelty charges, there will be no justice in the legal sense. Reports suggest that, under Russian law, evidence of injuries would have to be found for animal cruelty charges to succeed. However, people should all boycott that private beach. Keep taking action and be a voice for all the innocent animal victims who are at the mercy of the stupid human race.

February 28, 2013 Let the (donkey) games go on

Comment: Redford Union High School's co-chairman of the event, Gary Gradinscak, says that this event has been going on since the 1950s. In our letter to the school, we pointed out that there are plenty of humane and ethical alternative fundraising activities that “provide a quality educational environment” without leaving the school’s reputation tarnished. Tradition and culture are barriers to our moral advancement. 

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.  Ronald Reagan – President, USA

February 21, 2014 Allegations of animal abuse follow school’s ‘pig rodeo’

Comment: Our society, with humans wielding the power, is fraught with violence and exploitation of those who are weaker and vulnerable, both human and nonhuman. It’s an absolute disgrace that those teaching our young people are the ones responsible for staging this activity.  

August 7, 2014 Catholic parish accused of animal cruelty, remains silent

Comment: We have also contacted the parish regarding this uncivilized and brutal activity. It is in violation of Wisconsin Chapter 951, titled "Crimes Against Animals", which outlaws cockfighting, dogfighting, and any other similar fighting between animals or animals and humans. In addition, being a spectator of such an event is also in violation of Chapter 951. Those prosecuted could face felony animal fighting charges.

It seems as if any abusive, bullying activity can somehow be justified under the guise of religion and tradition. Our moral progress is hindered by such violent and thoughtless activities. St. Patrick’s parish seems to be blind to the suffering and inhumanity of exploiting sentient, intelligent beings in such a manner. For shame!

August 14, 2014 Group alleges numerous animal abuse law violations at pig rassle

Comment: The event, which organizers say brings in about $3,000, has been cancelled in the past. Protests by PETA halted the roundup for two years in the early 90s. Wisconsin’s neighbor state Minnesota has made the practice of pig wrestling a misdemeanor.

The Christian teachings of compassion, respect and integrity are out the window as soon as money comes into the equation. How hypocritical. To force God’s creatures through such a violent and frantic ordeal represents neither careful stewardship nor loving dominion. Moreover, after the hell they went through, the 37 pigs were sent to slaughter the following day.

April 22, 2015 Wisconsin church ends pig mud-wrestling after advocates raise stink