Good morning! I wanted to reach out to let you all know that I started a petition to ask the Maryland Renaissance Festival to discontinue the use of elephants as an attraction and a ride, and we need media attention in order to save these animals.

The owner of the animals, Frank Murray, is a convicted animal abuser that not only evaded arrest for 16 years, but posted bail and is still providing services to the MD Renaissance Festival. The owner of the festival, Mr. Jules Smith, has repeatedly hung up on others when asking for the discontinued use of elephants as a ride.

The elephants are forced to stand for up to 10 hours a day, surrounded by throngs of people, and forced to give rides to patrons all day long for months at a time. Frank Murray uses whips, chains, and bullhooks in order to subdue them into performing and not acting out, when in reality, these are incredibly intelligent creatures who also have a history of violence when treated in an extreme manner.

A link to my petition is here: I would SO appreciate any media attention this issue could bring so we could finally reach Mr. Smith and tell him that our community is no longer interested in having these creatures treated cruelly simply to give rides.

I have lived in the DMV area my entire life (and 20 years in St. Mary’s County), and the festival needs to follow the same animal ethics that Ringling Brothers have now subscribed to by no longer using elephants in their shows. It is a stain on one of the most beloved events in our community, and people travel from overseas to visit this wonderful event. Thank you so much for your consideration!


Christine Carter