WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHm) - Animal rights activists continue to call for the end of all animal acts at The Big E, following videos that have gone viral that have captured the attention of so many of our Western Mass News viewers.
One of those videos showed Minnie the elephant, who critics claim is treated poorly. The other: a camel shared tens of thousands of times and activists questioning it's treatment.
On Thursday, the president of an entertainment company featuring another camel show at The Big E is speaking out.
The owner of 'Camel Kingdom' is asking people to come and see his show for yourself, before you judge. He wants people to know that his camels, his show, is not part of the controversy swirling around other animal acts at The Big E.
"It's like a daycare. They're back here messing around with each other in the background. Come here Sapphire," said Ryan Henning, president of America Show Camels.
The company out of Florida that produces 'Camel Kingdom' at The Big E where rides are not given. Focusing more, Henning said, on educating the public about camels.
"We have 11 Dromedary camels here. They're like our family members. We provide them with the absolute highest standard of care," Henning said.
Henning told Western Mass News that these guys are family and he said they treat them as such.
"Believe it or not, we bring in 100 tons of sand. We're standing on 100 tons of sand to make it comfortable for the animals. They're all bottle raised, they've been around people their entire life. We provide them with the best food, veterinary care. They're living longer, happier, healthier and safer lives," Henning explained.
Henning said he can't speak personally to what's happening with other animal shows at The Big E. but the big picture is that he does not want to be associated with what he said can be some bad apples in the animal entertainment industry.
He wants people to see the 100-acre farm in Florida where his camels live when they're not traveling and he invites the public to stop by their spot at The Big E, spend time watching, and ask a lot of questions.
"We're all about education. We're all about transparency. We're literally open to the public all day long for people here at The Big E, so people can come out and watch us practice, exercise, do our performances, brush them, wash them, feed them," Henning noted.
To be clear, The Big E and the MSPCA maintains the animals in the videos going viral are not abused and that each animal is monitored closely by state and local authorities throughout the fair.