A dramatic quiet turn to Thunder Over Louisville will protect horses and vulnerable residents, the group says
For immediate release:
February 16, 2021
David Pearl 202-483-7382
Louisville, Kentucky. – PETA sent a letter to Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Matt Gibson this morning asking him to skip the rowdy Thunder Over Louisville fireworks this year, citing previous instances of fireworks ‘thunder’ and other loud noises inspiring fear. , caused injuries and contributed to the death of horses. The group notes that frightened dogs, cats and wild animals often flee to escape explosions, and that veterans and other people with PTSD may be harmed by combat strikes.
“There is no reason to scare horses half to death,” says PETA senior vice president Katy Guillermo. “PETA encourages the Kentucky Derby Festival to be creative and entertaining with special effects pyrotechnics or drone shows that can bring all the fun of fireworks without any fright.”
PETA, whose motto is in part that “animals are not in our hands to be abused in any way,” opposes arrogance, a worldview focused on human superiority. For more information please visit PETA.org or subscribe to the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram…
This is followed by PETA’s letter to Gibson.
February 16, 2021
President and CEO
Kentucky Derby Festival
Dear Mr. Gibson:
I am writing on behalf of PETA and over 6.5 million of our members and supporters around the world to urge you to cancel the fireworks scheduled for the April 17 Kentucky Derby Festival to protect the horses that will be at Churchill Downs in preparation for Kentucky Derby as well as other pets and wildlife in the area.
Fireworks can panic even the calmest animals, try to escape, or even die in an accident caused by a terrifying noise. Just a few years ago, a mare named Never Tell Lynda was so scared by a loud sound system in Churchill Downs that she reared and fell, hitting her head on the ground. Her injuries were so severe that she was put to sleep. She is not the only favorite horse to die after being frightened by a loud noise. A horse in Kentucky was so frightened by the fireworks until July Fourth that, trying to escape, it tripped over wet grass, broke its hip, and later died. There are many similar reports across the state, including 68 horses in Shelby County that were so frightened by the fireworks that they bumped into fences and other structures, leaving many injured.
The stress caused by the fireworks extends not only to horses but also to dogs, cats, wildlife and humans. Their use has devastating consequences: frightened dogs climb or dig their way out of fenced yards, desperately trying to avoid chaos, which leads to an increase in the number of stray animals trapped in shelters. Traditional fireworks are also similar to wartime combat, which can be stressful for veterans with PTSD.
The Kentucky Derby Festival has a unique opportunity to modernize its event by ditching the brutal fireworks show and replacing it with a safe drone show, special effects pyrotechnics, or other quiet yet exciting and colorful performances that will not cause injury, panic, disruption or harm to horses or other people …
We strongly recommend that you cancel the scheduled fireworks to protect all Louisvilleans. This is especially important this year during a pandemic, when many shelters are not operating at full capacity and cannot cope with the influx of lost animals. Thanks for your time and attention in protecting horses like Never Tell Lynda and others. We look forward to hearing from you.
Senior vice president
Copies: Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs