Written by Sam Carliner
The Student Center Quad was packed as it often is on pleasant days on a sunny afternoon, but unlike the usual, goats, chickens, llamas and many more animals were accompanying the students filling up the quad on Monday. While some students enjoyed spending the day with the animals, others had concern for the animals’ welfare.
Various farm animals ran in a line from a van into a fenced in area of the quad while students lined up for a turn to pet and hold them, marking the start of a petting zoo, an event that Montclair State has hosted annually for several years.
“My friend and I were sitting in the shade critiquing poetry, and all of a sudden I see 10 goats run into the quad, and I was like, ‘what the heck is going on,’” said senior Madison Gamba. “I was immediately happy when I saw the goats.”
However, not all students were happy about the petting zoo. “It’s a cute concept, but ultimately the animals are here for our display and should be in the wild,” said freshman Jonathan Ramon.
Montclair State Animal Activists were also unhappy about the petting zoo and had voiced their concerns to Student Life At Montclair (SLAM).
“These animals don’t belong in New Jersey with tons of people surrounding them.,” Kayla Tozzi, treasurer of the animal activists said. “They’re very overwhelmed.”
The Department of Campus Recreation was aware of the concerns. “We did contact the vendors and let them know the issue,” said Amanda Wood, Area Supervisor of Special Events who was working the event. “We want to make sure the animals are taken care of as well. We don’t want to support mistreatment of animals in any way.”
Tim Keyes and Mary Beth Somerville, who brought the animals from Green Meadows Farm and ran the petting zoo said “We’re approved by the USDA and conform to all rules and regulations.”
While Keyes and Somerville have brought the petting zoo to Montclair State five times now, the animal activists are hoping that the zoo does not return for the sixth visit. The club aims to find a replacement for the event and gain support from other students through flyering and petitioning.