Local News

Critics Oppose Mule "Diving"

Posted September 27, 1998

— Mule diving is seen by some as an entertainment; to others it is a cruel diversion that should be banned -- as it already has been at fairs in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.

The mules were part of this year's Cumberland County Fair.

Diverse opinions are found by speaking to spectators, the owner and animal activists.

"If he could just be more compassionate towards these animals and view this the way that we do. And maybe think of something else to do as a career," says animal rights activist Cindy Robins. "Let these animals graze. Let them run in a field which is what's supposed to be natural to them. Not jumping off of a platform."

"The animals are fat and healthy. We take complete care of them. Trim their feet. Do all their medical. They don't have a worry in the world and all they got to do is jump off here every once in awhile for a few months out of the year." That's the view of Tim Rivers, the owner of the attraction.

The animals jump 30 feet into 8,000 gallons of water.

Thomas Johnson stopped by to see the mules' act. "It don't look mean to me. I've got horses and no, I wouldn't do mine like that. But I guess it's all right."

"I didn't think it was mean to the animals," said Sarah Lowe, another fair visitor. "I didn't see any cruelty related to it. None whatsover."

"Had we known about it in time, we just found out about this on Thursday, we would have gotten a permit to protest," Robins said.

The fair wound up last weekend, and fair organizers aren't sure if the diving act will be back next year.

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