Skip to main content

'We're sorry live bunnies were given away as Midway prizes,' Fair says

Criticism of the Red River Valley Fair was swift.

Rabbit populations have a natural tendency to go up. But the bunny numbers at the Red River Valley Fair's midway quickly dropped to zero Wednesday after lots of complaints about a carnival attraction that was giving the animals away as prizes.

The fair in West Fargo opened its 2017 run on Tuesday. By Wednesday they were in damage control mode, as General Manager Bryan Schulz posted a statement apologizing for the use of rabbits as prizes at one of the stands operated by Murphy Brothers Exposition Midway. Schulz said the Fair had put a stop to it and the rabbits had been relocated.

The complaints

The swift social media backlash included Facebook complaints like:

– "Do you give away puppies without vetting the owners? You never know what people will do to these precious lives."

– "I have saved and rescued domesticed [sic] rabbits for 1/2 of my life. They are not a prize. Winning them is no prize, I promise you that! More work then [sic] a dog or cat."

– "Not only is this illegal according to the state's statutes, it is ethically repulsive. I will NEVER support any organization that puts profits ahead of responsible adherence to the law."

There were also concerns about the living conditions of the bunnies that were in cages behind the carnival stand, waiting to be won.

The apology

Schulz's post says in part:

"We understand and agree with the concerns about the treatment and livelihood of the rabbits. Since the discovery, the rabbits have been relocated and are no longer being used as prizes to the public. We did not have knowledge of this giveaway, and we do not condone animals being used as prizes, as we hold high standards for all live animals."

Is it really illegal?

Yes, it is illegal in North Dakota. The state law makes a few special exceptions, but other than those "A person may not give away any live animal ... as a prize for ... any contest, game, or other competition."

Twenty-six other states, including Minnesota, have similar laws on the books, advocates say.

A carnival in Louisiana was ripped by the Humane Society earlier this year for giving away rabbits, turtles, and iguanas as prizes for games.

Next Up

police lights squad car

60-year-old woman arrested after firing shots inside Spicer home

SWAT evacuated nearby residents during the incident.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line booked to play at the Minnesota State Fair

The band is the second country music act to be booked this year.

monkeypox

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.

lightning, storm

Isolated severe weather in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday

Definitely not a slam dunk either day, but the chance is there.

ambulance

Driver ejected in fatal crash on Shepard Road in St. Paul

The driver of a Dodge Ram was ejected and died at the scene.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 10.02.59 AM

North Dakota's only abortion clinic relocating to Minnesota

A GoFundMe set up to help the clinic make the move to Minnesota has surpassed its $500,000 goal.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 12.37.03 PM

Deadly vehicle fire on Interstate 94 west of Fargo

The victim's age and name have not been released.

flickr - gov tim walz - mn senate dfl

Overturning Roe v. Wade won't do a 'damn thing' to prevent abortions, Walz says

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Saturday meant to protect abortion access in the state and people who come from out of state seeking one.

ambulance

Man crossing Highway 13 in Burnsville fatally struck by driver

The victim is a 31-year-old man from Prior Lake.

Related

Double your duckling rescues: 2 Minnesota cities save baby ducks in 1 day

From Moorhead to Medina, city employees were saving ducks today.

Double your duckling rescues: 2 Minnesota cities save baby ducks in 1 day

From Moorhead to Medina, city employees were saving ducks today.

MN ranch's new arrivals lost their home and eyesight – but are wild at heart

A sanctuary near Hastings has taken in seven old blind stallions who used to run wild in Arizona

MN ranch's new arrivals lost their home and eyesight – but are wild at heart

A sanctuary near Hastings has taken in seven old blind stallions who used to run wild in Arizona

An orphaned puma meets the public at the MN Zoo, and another is on the way

A cat who arrived last fall met the public Friday; a younger one is also earmarked for Minnesota.

An orphaned puma meets the public at the MN Zoo, and another is on the way

A cat who arrived last fall met the public Friday; a younger one is also earmarked for Minnesota.

Duluth zoo animals will get those pearly whites checked, thanks to donation

The gift helps replace equipment the zoo lost in a flood nearly five years ago.

Duluth zoo animals will get those pearly whites checked, thanks to donation

The gift helps replace equipment the zoo lost in a flood nearly five years ago.