Margate, Florida. (WSVN) — Animal activists have expressed concerns about competition at the Broward County fair featuring monkeys riding on doggies.
7News captured young primates during the Banana Derby at the fair in Margate, Sunday night.
“The only place you can see monkeys riding dogs in South Florida is at the Broward County Fair,” said Philip Hendricks of the Banana Derby.
The races attract fair-goers every night, but they have also come under fire from animal activists.
“In this day and age, the existence of such barbarism – being captured and forced to ride for money is absolutely unforgivable,” said animal activist Susan Hargreaves, “and I am amazed Margate City for allowing that.”
City commissioners approved the banana derby despite opposition from local activists.
In a letter to Margate Mayor Antonio F. Arsareo, spokespersons for the Florida Animal Rights Foundation and the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance described the practice as offensive and stressful for the animals involved.
Broward County Fair spokesman Mitchell Pelicia weighed in on the controversy that sparked a phone interview, Sunday night.
“This is it [expletive], Okay? Nobody knows the back stories of the Capuchin monkeys.
Hendrix, a self-described monkey jockey, has been running the show for 15 years.
These shocking, shocking allegations are untrue. These animals are well taken care of. They are part of our family. “I wish them well,” he said.
Some city commissioners who responded to 7News’ requests for comment said they opposed the measure that allowed the Banana Derby to be listed as an attraction at the fair.
Activists said they plan to hold a protest at the fairgrounds on Tuesday starting at 6 p.m.
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