Donkey basketball banned in the US due to animal rights
The odd and eccentric sport of Donkey basketball has been banned in the United States, due to pressure from PETA and animal rights activists that the sport was cruel to the animals.
The sport was developed during the Depression as entertainment in rural areas, and is still used as a fund-raising tool in the Midwest high schools. Four players compete on each team on donkeys and they can dismount to pull their donkeys along, but they have to be seated to shoot.
Under pressure from organisations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), however, school districts in states including Oregon, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania have banned the activity.
Donkeys are deprived of food and water for hours before the game so that they don't foul on the court, and the animals often become confused by the noise and chaos and can be kicked and dragged along. They can also have to carry overweight riders, which puts strain on their spine.
Critics were quick to speak out however:
"There are a lot of people out there who don't like donkey ball, but they're usually city folks who ain't never been around any animals before," said Kenny Schappacher of the Ohio-based Buckeye Donkey Ball.
Crystal Ward, a California donkey breeder, said a donkey is not harmed if it is pulled by a halter and lead rope rather than a bridle and bit.
Donkeys can be sturdier animals than horses though and can carry about 154 with no problem; it would just be a problem if the student weighed more than that.