Stop Using Live Animals as Prizes


Target: Dennis Redman, President of the Barry County Agricultural Society

Goal: Stop giving away hermit crabs and other animals as “prizes” for county fair games.

The Barry County Fair decided to continue using live hermit crabs as fair prizes this year despite being asked to end this practice by PETA. As a result of this irresponsible decision, most if not all of these so-called prizes will most likely live short, miserable lives.

Hermit crabs require an extraordinary amount of care. Specific humidity and temperature levels, a rich and varied diet, clean shells, proper digging substrate, and a myriad of other needs are far too often neglected by people who buy these animals on a whim or win them at fairs like this one. Despite hermit crabs’ ability to live up to 40 years in the wild, most will only live a few weeks or months in captivity due to insufficient care. This is a cruel and callous fate for these unique animals.

Owning an animal as delicate as a hermit crab is a tremendous responsibility that unsuspecting fair-goers are not prepared for. Most of the people who win these animals as prizes will simply treat them as disposable playthings and quickly forget about them, leaving them to die of neglect.

Don’t let this continue to happen at the Barry County Fair. Urge the board of directors to stop using hermit crabs and any other live animals as prizes in all future fairs by signing below.


Dear Mr. Redman,

I was greatly disappointed by Barry County Fair’s decision to continue using hermit crabs as prizes for fair games this year. Hermit crabs are often marketed as easy-to-care-for animals, but nothing could be further from the truth. They have very specific needs and require a great deal of upkeep, which the average fair attendee is certainly not prepared to provide.

Hermit crabs are complex creatures with the capacity to live for decades in the wild. By giving them away as prizes, Barry County Fair is treating them as nothing more than cheap, disposable toys. Not only is this practice incredibly cruel and unfair to the hermit crabs themselves, it also sends the wrong message to children about how wildlife should be treated.

Sadly, most of the hermit crabs given away as prizes this year will most likely die within weeks or months due to insufficient care, but that doesn’t have to be the case for future fairs. I must urge you and the board of directors to ban the use of hermit crabs and all other live animals as prizes indefinitely.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jessica Diamond

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  1. Cecelia Nelson says:

    ANIMALS are NOT on this earth for OUR ENTERTAINMENT… WHEN will WE learn this. SHAME ON US for OUR ABUSE, TORTURE & KILLING of INNOCENT aniamls

  2. With all the prizes available in the world . . . why these?

    Such a lack of imagination!

  3. Anita Culling says:

    Ignorant fools. Stop treating living creatures so thoughtlessly. Give sensible cruelty free prizes

  4. Stephanie Geyser says:

    Does a life have no meaning to you?

  5. I understand that Barry County Fair will be giving away hermit crabs as booth prizes this year. Nearly all of these “pets” have a life where they are doomed to live in tiny enclosures, handled in a rough manner, fed food that is improper for their well-being, and then they are usually forgotten about once the fun wears off. In the wild, these complex animals travel in colonies that include as many as 100 members, and can live for up to 40 years. However, captive hermit crabs typically die between the ages of only one and four years. I ask that you please do the right thing and stop the giveaway of these small creatures as well as any other live animals at your fair. If I may suggest, please go to where you can find many appropriate, reasonably priced toys that children of all ages will just love. Thank you for your consideration.

  6. Lisa Allred Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared. ?

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