GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- PETA says they're not going to correct a web article they posted Monday which claims their protests of the controversial bear act at the Mesa County Fair forced the fair board to end live animal shows -- even though the Mesa County Fair Board President told KKCO 11 News that's not true.
PETA tells us they got the information from Visit Grand Junction -- and that they still believe it's accurate. Fair Board President Kyle Carstens told us in an interview Monday Visit Grand Junction doesn’t make the decisions on what acts are at the fair.
PETA provided us with a copy of the email correspondence they’re basing the information off of. In the correspondence, the Director of Visit Grand Junction says, “Per the County Fair: “We do not currently have any plans for exotic or wild animal displays at the Mesa County Fair in 2019.”
That might be true, but focus in on the ‘currently have’ part of the statement. The President stressed final decisions on acts for this summer’s fair simply haven’t been made, wild animal or not. The board typically finalizes those in March or April. So, there aren’t currently plans for any of the acts.
To help sort it out, we called PETA again Tuesday. Here's a bit of that conversation:
Reporter Grace Reader:
"In the quote that I saw from them (the Mesa County fair) via Visit Grand Junction, it sounded like they had not decided whether or not they were going to have animals at the fair next year, not that they were not going to have them, so it felt like the press release that we got from you all was relatively misleading as to what they were saying."
PETA's response via John Di Leonardo, the animals and entertainment campaign manager:
"I think that the fair is misleading because the fair and the sponsors knew exactly what we were asking. So if they were looking to get rid of us by sending us something misleading that's not going to work."
PETA added another article to their website under the ‘Victories’ section with an article titled "After PETA campaign, Colorado Fair Has No Plans to Bring Wild Animals Back." It more directly matches the quote they got from Visit Grand Junction -- but still not accurate in the eyes of the Fair Board. We’ve asked the Executive Director to clarify who she meant when she said ‘Per the County Fair” and we’ll update this article when we get that information.
The Mesa County fair says their animal acts are their biggest attractions every year and that the controversial bear act they hosted this year was their most attended animal event ever.
NOTE: A previous version of this story said PETA changed an online article and title. In fact, as reflected in this article they added another item to their site. Links to both can be found in the related items section of this story. The headline of the story has also been changed to reflect PETA’s claim remains one they stand by, a previous version called the claim false, as the Board President explained.