Donkey basketball

Yerington is a quiet little Northern Nevada community, nestled about halfway between Carson City and Walker Lake, 90 miles southeast of Reno. A cat stuck in a tree might make front-page news -- unless plans for a new stop light bumped the story inside.

But Yerington has attracted national attention thanks to a well-known animal rights pressure group.

Last week, the extremists at PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- posted an "action alert" on their Web site, urging supporters to protest Yerington High School's annual "donkey basketball" fundraiser.

The event features community leaders riding donkeys on a make-shift basketball court while trying to score. No dribbling is allowed. Players just pass the ball around and shoot.

Caroline McIntosh, superintendent of the Lyon County School District, said she received about 300 protest e-mails from PETA supporters within about a day after the group launched its campaign to stop the March 1 event.

"I do always appreciate input. But I haven't seen any sign of cruelty to these animals," Ms. McIntosh told Carson City's Nevada Appeal, adding that she would check with the person who supplies the donkeys to make sure they are treated humanely.

To get an idea of just how far out in la-la land the folks in PETA reside, remember that they're the same radicals who raised a stink last year when President Barack Obama swatted a persistent fly during a television interview. They also want all fish renamed "sea kittens" to make them less appetizing.

As far as the donkeys are concerned, a PETA spokeswoman argued that the basketball game can lead to the animals being kicked or even hit by balls on stray passes. The horror! "Besides putting people's safety at risk, abusive events such as donkey basketball give students a lesson in cruelty," PETA Director Debbie Leahy said.

In addition, a PETA news release argues that "the noise and chaos of the games are extremely stressful for the donkeys ... " Putting aside the obvious anthropomorphism, the group sure claims to know a lot about a donkey's thoughts and feelings.

Apparently, it takes an ass to know one.