Don't like what the Washington County Fair does to animals? Sign our petition at Lovin Arms Pet Center and check out Southern Utah Animal Alliance.“Anyone, including all animal activist organizations that cause any physical disruption of any functioning animal enterprise is considered by the federal government as a criminal terrorist act and will be prosecuted in full force as a felony.”

That is what the sign at the Washington County Fair said. This year’s fair organizers went for the nostalgic jugular by attempting to recreate a “Land of Oz” fantasy world where real lions, tigers, and bears were creatures to be feared. However, the featured animals were more fatigued than fierce, and for those of us old enough to remember, the Land of Oz became “The Land of Awes.” Lions and tigers and bears, why oh why? We felt a peaceful protest was necessary as our attempts at negotiation fell on deaf ears. We are not terrorists.

We are compassionate people who believe that other sentient beings deserve our respect and protection. Most of us have never spent time in a jail cell and have never run afoul of the law. We willingly abide by the constraints placed upon us. We are not terrorists. We realize that a bear is a wild animal that doesn’t belong in a desert performing under duress, but we also realize that trying to “bearnap” it and remove it from its confinements would be crazy and would not turn out well for anyone. Besides, it wouldn’t fit in our car. However, since it can’t be returned to a natural habitat, it should be relinquished to a refuge or sanctuary. We don’t buy the story about orphaned cubs willingly joining the circus to live their lives on the road.

We are not terrorists. We are business owners, college professors, public servants, therapists, athletic directors, and retirees. We are wives, husbands, partners, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We are married, single, divorced, or in a relationship. We are musicians, dancers, athletes, writers, and artists. We are religious, spiritual, agnostic, and atheist. We don’t agree on everything, but we are not terrorists.

Many of us are vegans and vegetarians — fighting for animals while continuing to eat them seems hypocritical — but there are omnivores among us. Some of us are willing to concede that hunting animals for food may be acceptable (I confess, I’m not one), but we are appalled at hunters that kill for the thrill of a trophy. None of us have human heads mounted on our walls (hopefully). We are not terrorists.

We don’t hate humans, but we are often astounded by the cluelessness and blatant cruelty of our species. We may be dominant, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to subjugate other beings. Animals should not be trapped, shot, or tortured. They are not our entertainment, clothes, or trophies. They should not even be our food. Many of us live with domestic animals. They are our family members. We don’t care if you want to show your horse or train your dog. Just saying.

If you want to stand up for all animals, please sign our petition at Lovin Arms Pet Center and check out Southern Utah Animal Alliance’s Facebook page.

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