Letter: Burro photo showed nothing but disrespect
I was very disappointed to see the picture on the cover of the Vail Daily on Friday, August 9. It was disheartening to see a picture of a donkey being pulled hard, ridden in a reckless fashion and pushed by three people with a stereotypical headline about being stubborn. Not only that, she had given birth less than a week ago according to the picture’s description. That donkey should not have been treated like that, or even out there.
This event should be eliminated from this rodeo permanently. Burro racing is a state sport in Colorado and Colorado’s only indigenous sport. It began in 1949 and celebrates the miners and their burros who would travel back to town to stake a new claim. There is a Burro Museum in Fairplay open during Burro Days, a pack burro racing exhibit at Denver International Airport last year showcasing state symbols, an award-winning documentary, several books and many published articles in various sports magazines around the world.
It is nothing like what the rodeo portrays and I would ask that instead of offering this, that Eagle County once again hosts a pack burro race like was done in the early 1980s and more recently in Minturn. What a picture like this does is basically humiliate the donkey and does nothing to showcase what these animals are capable of. In addition to pack burro racing, they compete every year at the National Western Stock Show and other burro arena and agility events around Colorado. Burros are incredibly smart and what most people think of as stubborn is really a cautious animal assessing the situation before moving again when it thinks it is safe.
Burros are wonderful guards for livestock and backcountry packing trips. I could add more but as a reference please check out the Western Pack Burro Association website at http://www.packburroracing.com. Donkeys deserve so much better from us, so I would like to ask the organizers to offer another event in its place and maybe sponsor a race honoring Colorado’s Summer Heritage Sport.