Letter writer: Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our community’s values

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am writing as a concerned citizen to expose the cruelty behind the Mountain State Fair, which [started] Friday in Western North Carolina. As a vegan and a volunteer with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, I’m a huge animal lover, but state fairs are notorious for containing exploitative animal displays.

Just last month at the Missouri State Fair, tigers were forced to perform, appeared emaciated like “skeletons,” and some of the fair-goers described the tigers as being lethargic. Animals suffer immeasurably when they are forced to perform for human entertainment, and they live in a state of depression, fear and anxiety.

The exotic-animal shows display intelligent animals as nothing more than silly clowns. Because these tricks are not natural, trainers will sometimes beat the animals or deprive them of food in order to get the animals to perform tricks.

In addition, more often than not, kids grow tired of their goldfish, rabbit or iguana “prize,” and the animal is often abandoned.

Asheville is a progressive, compassionate city, and the Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our values. I urge the community to think about how they are voting with their money. If you see cruelty to animals at a state or county fair, you can file a cruelty-to-animals complaint.

— Michelle Neff

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18 thoughts on “Letter writer: Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our community’s values

  1. The Real World

    Michelle – You bring up many valid points worth consideration. However, this is a misguided statement:
    “Asheville is a progressive, compassionate city, and the Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our values.”

    What exact values are you assigning the entire (or even most of) AVL population? A rhetorical question, actually, because your statement is very presumptuous and narrow-minded. I cringe every time I hear or read a comment from a person declaring the zeitgeist for the majority of the city population. It’s creepy.

    • mynameis

      It’s not creepy, it’s just an untrue statement. Everywhere around I see the destitution caused by a city and state government that is more focused on business than on people.

      “Progressive”, no. “Progressiv-er”, maybe. But more progressive than what? Than the low bar set by the rest of NC?

      • The Real World

        I’m sticking with creepy. Because it is strange and unnerving that someone believes:
        a) that they know the viewpoints of a large group of people (audacious)
        b) that they think those views are mostly the same (VERY provincial)
        c) that they would even want to be surrounded by people who don’t think independently (creepiest of all)

        And I’m guessing that both you and Michelle consider yourselves “progressives”. well, after about 20 years (here and elsewhere) of listening to the views of progressives I think I have a decent handle on where they’re coming from. Almost across the board — there is a BIG piece missing in their worldview. That would be both practicality and consideration for the whole picture!

        I’m all for balance and moving forward, always have been, and want to consider EVERYTHING that is involved with an issue. When people bash business they only evidence how ignorant they are. It is the trading of goods and services that provides the money flow to live our lives. Same as it ever was.

        Lastly, my Dad taught me many valuable things and one was, “if you’re going to criticize something then you better offer up an improved solution. Otherwise, you’ve only considered half the issue and you’re asking for someone else to come up with the better idea. That’s weak.”

          • mynameis

            Funny how you decry someone for believing “that they know the viewpoints of a large group of people (audacious)”, then proceed to say about progressives “I think I have a decent handle on where they’re coming from”. Hi-larious!

            So, what is your solution? Or are you waiting for someone else to come up with the solution?

          • The Real World

            @mynameis: you are being emotionally knee-jerk reactionary. And in being so and getting your knickers all twisted, you’ve poorly comprehended my comments.

            My simple and sound solution to that kind of behavior is: Grow Up.

          • Jeff Fobes

            To all: Please keep to the topic. The discussion is straying. Thanks in advance.
            Jeff Fobes
            Xpress Publisher

  2. Yawn

    *Yawn*… I mean… “meow”… Brother Cat, I mean, Brother Wolf, attend to your cats and your coffee shop and let the citizens of Asheville enjoy their State Fair.

  3. Herb Roberson

    Ma’am, please do NOT presume to speak for “all” Asheville residents …You certainly do not in any way reflect any of mine or many of my friends views or feeling about the Fair.

  4. NFB

    “Asheville is a progressive, compassionate city, and the Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our values.”

    Well guess what. The Mountain State Fair is not only for people in Asheville. That is why it is called the Mountain State Fair and not the Asheville State Fair.

    Besides, who are you to speak for even just the people in Asheville?

    You may have some valid points here, but they are totally lost in your insistence that the rest of the community shares your views.

    • Chuck McGrady

      I heartily agree. And the comment that “the Mountain State Fair doesn’t reflect our values” makes me more certain that the legislature did the right thing when it de-annexed the Ag Center from Asheville. The Ag Center, and thus the Mountain State Fair, is no longer within the corporate limits of the City of Asheville.

      Henderson County lies immediately south of the Ag Center, and I have no doubt that most of my constituents do not share the sentiments. Moreover, they understand that this is a regional state fair–not simply Asheville’s state fair, although the attitude of the letter writer is fairly common among Asheville residents.

      Chuck McGrady
      State Representative

  5. AVL LVR

    Seems like the Mountain State Fair was packed with people. If people didn’t like it, it would be empty.

    Who is to say Michelle Neff isn’t exploitative with all the cats she keeps as pets.

  6. Jason W.

    Michelle, I suggest you do a little research, or even visit the fair itself, before writing a generalized letter denouncing it.
    I don’t see any tiger shows but I do see these two groups at the fair:
    The organization was formed by a group of licensed rehabilitators, nonprofit professionals, environmental educators, and other concerned citizens, in response to the increasing numbers of wildlife in need of assistance and the lack of people trained and funded to help them in Western North Carolina.
    The sea lions will amaze the crowd as they balance balls, shoot hoops, dance, perform handstands and show their pretty smiles. This is the only show in the U.S. to feature both California and South American sea lions. The idea of the Sea Lion Splash originated when Squalus started taking in beached sea lions who were unable to be returned to the wild due to age or injuries and unable to provide food for themselves. Squalus provides a permanent home for these sea lions for the rest of their lives.

  7. I think the writer is correct about Asheville values opposing animal cruelty, but remember the fair is not in Asheville or even in Buncombe. It’s in Henderson County, which has VERY different values. Also, If we boycott the entire fair, we will not be able to report animal cruelty.

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