Help Cancel Frog Jumping and Turtle Derby "Games"
Action Alert from


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
June 2014


Tell Bel Air Independence Day Committee that torturing frogs and turtles for entertainment is unacceptable!

Don Stewart, President and Chair
Bel Air Independence Day Committee
P.O. Box 724
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
(410) 879-4245

Michael Blum, Vice President and CEO
Bel Air Independence Day Committee
P.O. Box 724
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
(410) 879-4245

Althes Conway, President
Bel Air Kiwanis Club
P.O. Box 663
Bel Air, MD 21014
(410) 879-2828
Online contact form


Each year, frogs and turtles are taken from their natural habitats and cruelly subjected to "Frog Jumping" and "Turtle Derby" games at Bel Air Independence Day (see schedule here).

They are surrounded by screaming crowds, roughly handled, and relentlessly goaded into making their way across a dry, dusty slab of concrete. This chaotic ordeal would obviously be terrifying for both frogs and turtles, who view humans as predators, and it is potentially harmful as well.

Frogs can have respiratory problems since they breathe through their skin and therefore must remain clean and moist—one local conservationist even stated that "a lot of frogs get injured in the jump."

And because of their slow metabolism, turtles can take weeks or even months to heal from injuries. 

From the Bel Air Independence Day website:

Turtle Rules!

Pursuant to Maryland Department of Natural Resources restrictions on turtles captured in the wild, for the benefit of these creatures (many of which are now endangered), no turtle may be entered whose carapace is less than 4" long. Limit 1 member of each turtle species (Box, Painted, Spotted, Redbellied, etc.) per adult. 1 turtle limit per entrant. NO SNAPPING TURTLES ARE ALLOWED!

Help the environment — care for your turtle! Please keep your turtle comfortable; dampened, shredded paper towels inside the box and a newspaper covering the box to keep the sun off your turtle are good ideas. Also, only 1 turtle should be in each box — keeping turtles separate helps in the non-transmission of turtle pathogens. Washing stations for your hands will be available — wash frequently!

We love our turtles — and having a turtle derby has been a feature of this event for decades. We recognize the sensitivity of the issue of treatment of wild animals, and we urge all participants to honor their turtles by caring for them properly, safeguarding them from possible pathogens, and returning them to the proper environment as soon as possible. The Bel Air Independence Day Committee thanks the greater Bel Air Community for its attention to these matters and for its cooperation and fellowship. 

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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