Lazy 5 Ranch named stateís top field trip destination
By Sarah Campbell
MOORESVILLE ó Lazy 5 Ranch was the top destination in the state for school field trips during the 2010-11 school year, according to an annual survey.
And an animal rights group is taking advantage of that distinction to again take aim at the exotic animal attraction, which it says abuses and neglects its animals.
Henry Hampton, owner of the Lazy 5, did not return telephone calls last week.
ěOur field trip and group education market is truly outstanding,î Hampton said in a press release. ěWe strive to provide fun, yet we want students to have an educational experience while visiting our farm.î
In its annual rankings, Carolina Field Trips Magazine reported that Lazy 5 pulled ahead of Dan Nicholas Park for the No. 1 spot on the list with more than 125,900 field trip visitors during the 2010-11 school year.
With nearly 119,000 visitors the North Carolina Zoo ranked second on the list. Dan Nicholas Park fell to third with more than 116,400.
But if People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has its way, Lazy 5 wonít make the list again. The organization is urging school districts in North Carolina to end field trips to the zoo and animal park on N.C. 150.
PETA sent out a letter to superintendents asking them to ěpledge to cancel any plans that schools may have to visit Lazy 5, given its routine abuse neglect of animals in violation of federal law.î
ěLazy 5 Ranch is the last place that youngsters should visit, unless they want a lesson in how not to keep animal,î Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of PETA, said in a press release. ěThis deplorable roadside zoo exposes kids to cruelty and disease and illustrates how not to treat intelligent, feeling animals.î
This isnít the first time the group has taken issue with Lazy 5.
In August, the group cited multiple citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding animal care.
At the time, a ranch employee said those claims were exaggerated or untrue.
Two USDA veterinarians and Rowan County Animal Control Supervisor Clai Martin inspected the ranch after PETA raised concerns about the possibility of animal neglect.
Martin said nothing he saw at the ranch gave rise to any cruelty law violations.
Rita Foil, a spokeswoman with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, confirmed that students in the district do take field trips to Lazy 5.
Although a Post reporter provided Foil with a copy of the letter, she did not comment, saying, ěour district has not been notified by PETA.î
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.