Photo courtesy of the Wilson County Fair
A viral Facebook video with over 150,000 views sparked controversy after it was posted on Saturday due to many believing that it depicts animal abuse at the Wilson County Fair, which is held annually in Lebanon, Tennessee.
The video shows two handlers attempting to get a camel to stand up, despite its apparent refusal to do so. The handlers can be seen pulling on the camels harness and pushing the camel from behind.
According to Helen McPeak, the executive director of the Wilson County Fair, the independent, licensed vendor that provided the camel-riding attraction has been dismissed for the remainder of the fair.
“What we have done is we had the (camel) inspected by a veterinarian,” McPeak said. “We had several animal people that have majored in animal science look at (the camel). They did not find any neglect or abuse … It had no welt marks or anything on it. But, because of all of the stir, we have asked (the vendor) to leave the fair, and we are giving the camel the rest of the week off.”
McPeak claimed that, despite all of the controversy, no animal abuse occurred while the video was being recorded.
“If you’ll notice (in the video), it looks like an animal that didn’t want to get up,” McPeak said. “It was just being stubborn, and it sounded like maybe the people looked at it one way when people who are around animals would look at it another.”
McPeak said that the controversy is not representative of the way that the fair treats its animal attractions.
“Our fair is built on loving and admiring animals and what they do and what they provide to us as human beings,” McPeak said. “None of us wants to see any animal abuse in any way.”
After the original Facebook post was seen by thousands, the Wilson County Fair Facebook page published a post that states that the video did not tell “the full story.”
The video of the alleged animal abuse can be viewed below.
The Wilson County Fair began on Aug. 18 and is being held until Aug. 26. More information about the Wilson County Fair can be found here.
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