Dear Friends of Animals:
Rocklands Talent & Management (generally a very good tour promoter) is currently presenting a Canadian Tour of An Amish Family Christmas. Though no Amish cause is directly benefiting from the tour, the idea of portraying the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvannia, as simple devout folk is front and center in this warm and fuzzy play.
The Pictou Advocate's promotional article on the tour makes it clear that the playwright is promoting Amish culture, stating, "there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the Amish community, especially with the new TLC program, Breaking Amish. (playwright) Dollie Fowler has been working to dispel those notions through entertainment and education."
The one notion that is ignored is that when I hear the word 'Amish' I immediately think 'Puppy Mill.'
Both Nightline and Oprah have extensively covered the cruelty that goes on in Lancaster Country puppy mills run by the Amish. Nightline reported that there are about 300 licensed breeders in Lancaster County, and rescue workers estimate another 600 unlicensed facilities operate in barns and sheds. Those breeders go to great measures to avoid discovery. Some even "de-bark" their dogs.
"The farmers, the Amish and the Mennonites, they pull the heads back and then they hammer sharp instruments down their throats to scar their vocal cords so they can't bark. So that way they can have 500-600 dogs in a barn and no one knows. It's an industry of secrecy."
I contacted the tour venues in Moncton and Fredericton and advised them of the brutal practices of the Amish puppy mills and they said they could do nothing citing either contractual obligations or the risk of censorship. Apparently, Censorship means you must choose between Free Speech or Puppies.
Producers and artistic directorsmake decisions every season of what shows to present, what shows to adapt, and what shows to eliminate as being inappropriate for one reason or another. I defend everyone's right to present and voice what they like BUT if I were in a position where I learned more about an art project and realized that it completely and intentionally overlooked the context, I would certainly challenge the writers and the producers about it.
Now that you know what really happens in Amish Lancaster County, please do not stand idly by doing nothing. Please join with me in asking Rocklands Talent & Management to cancel this tour and to join with us in spreading the message to Stop Abusive Puppy Mills. The tour venues are below. Please support their other shows but please help ensure An Amish Family Christmas is a flop! Feel free to contact high schools and universities to spread the word.
Nov. 26 Roxy Theatre 7pm Owen Sound 519-371-2833 Nov. 28 Showplace Performace Centre 7pm Peterborough, ON 705-742-7469 Nov. 30 Moncton Wesleyan Life Centre 7pm Moncton 1-506-870-8344 Dec. 2 Cobequid Educational Centre 3pm Truro 902-897-4004 Dec. 4 TH'Yarc Playhouse & Arts Centre 7pm Yarmouth 902-742-8150 Dec. 5 Astro Theatre 7pm Liverpool 902-354-5250 Dec. 6 deCoste Centre 7pm Pictou 902-485-8848 Dec. 9 Savoy Theatre 3pm Glace Bay 902-842-1577 Dec. 10 Festival Theatre 7pm Wolfville 902-542-5500 Dec. 12 Harbourfront Theatre 7pm Summerside, P.E.I 902-888-2500 Dec. 13 The Fredericton Playhouse 506) 458-8344