By Jennifer O'Connor
A camel who was being used in a Christmas pageant at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, fell into the audience after stumbling when her handler attempted to force her to lie down.
Thankfully, the camel, LulaBell, wasn't hurt (nor were the stunned folks she fell on), but other animals used in passion plays, live Nativity scenes, and holiday photo ops haven't fared so well. Animals have been savagely beaten, hit and killed by cars after bolting, sexually assaulted, suffocated, and stolen and slaughtered.
We understand that LulaBell was rented from a company called Animals in Motion. The company's owner, Tim Rivers, has a long criminal history involving illegal animal trafficking, cruelty to animals, and U.S. Department of Agriculture violations.
We've called on First Baptist Church to stop using animals in displays, events, and so on. If a church in your area uses live animals in holiday promotions, please politely urge it to end the practice and to give animals a reason to celebrate too.