MEDIA RELEASE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Stars Speak Out Against “World’s Stupidest Sport”

MEDIA RELEASE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Stars Speak Out Against “World’s Stupidest Sport”

LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2024) — For World Turtle Day on May 23, two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stars and a former Baywatch star have joined In Defense of Animals’ high-profile campaign to end cruel turtle races at Brennan’s, an Irish pub in Marina del Rey. Brennan’s has been racing turtles for entertainment and profit since 1975, publicizing the cruel event as “the world’s stupidest sport.”


“As Leonardo, the Leader of the Turtles in the first three original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, I am saddened to learn that fellow turtles are being so heartlessly exploited by forcing them to ‘perform’ in a loud and crowded bar. There’s got to be a better way for Brennan’s to generate profits that doesn’t include abusing vulnerable animals. Please tell Brennan’s you would like to see them find kinder ways to lure customers and retire these helpless turtles from racing,” said Brian Tochi, a prolific actor who voiced Leonardo in the original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

Actor and musician Greg Cipes added, “Being the voice of Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I love my reptile friends, so it breaks my heart to see turtles being raced. Turtles are sensitive animals who shouldn’t be subjected to shouts and screams at a crowded bar for entertainment. I stand with In Defense of Animals and urge Brennan’s Bar to stop the inhumane turtle races.” 

“Brennan’s itself calls turtle racing the 'world’s stupidest sport,' but has been organizing these races for nearly half a century,” said former Baywatch actress and In Defense of Animals supporter Alexandra Paul. “It is time for Brennan’s to get smart and stop this cruel practice, which turtle experts agree is inhumane. There are many other forms of entertainment to offer that don’t involve harming animals.”

“We are thrilled that two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a Baywatch star are using their celebrity power to speak out for turtles on their special day,” said Brittany Michelson, a turtle specialist who works for In Defense of Animals and runs Desert Oasis Turtle & Tortoise Sanctuary. “If you agree that sensitive animals should not be forced to race in a rowdy bar for fun, speak up on World Turtle Day and ask Brennan’s to end its shameful turtle races by signing our alert.”

On race night at Brennan’s in Marina del Rey, a captive turtle is held dangerously high to be displayed to a rowdy crowd in a pub flooded with bright lights and amplified sound. Photo: In Defense of Animals 

Brennan’s is a crowded venue which subjects turtles to the shouts and screams of a boisterous crowd. Dozens of rowdy customers bet on a winner while an emcee directs the event over powerful loudspeakers. The overwhelming setting is stressful for many humans, let alone for a naturally shy and sensitive species. 

Reptile experts have called this environment inhumane, raising serious concerns about the short and long-term health consequences of chronic fear and stress for these sensitive animals. 

Brennan's website states that turtle racing is the “real sport of kings,” but animal exploitation is nothing to boast about. 

The bar also refers to the turtle races as a tradition, but there is no justification for perpetuating animal cruelty. Traditions that abuse non-consenting animals for entertainment and profit must end. 

Through an alert from In Defense of Animals, over 11,500 animal defenders have written to Brennan's and its operating partner, Artisanal Brewers Collective, urging them to end the turtle races and replace them with an alternative activity that does not involve live animals. 

On a turtle race night in late March, a large demonstration was held by In Defense of Animals, Los Angeles for Animals, and Los Angeles Animal Defense League. It was reported widely by KTLA, Eater Los Angeles, The Independent, Los Cerritos News, Westside Current, Yo! Venice and others.


The three organizations are planning another protest at Brennan’s on June 8. 

Members of the public are encouraged to take action for the Brennan’s turtles by joining the next demonstration and signing In Defense of Animals’ alert


### NOTES ###


CONTACT: In Defense of Animals, Brittany Michelson,, 928-420-0727

In Defense of Animals is an international animal rescue and protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, the environment, and their guardians through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, rural Mississippi and California.

Los Angeles for Animals and Los Angeles Animal Defense League are grassroots groups that organize animal rights demonstrations. LAFA is currently working hard on the Free Billy the elephant campaign at the Los Angeles Zoo and ADL is mainly focused on anti-fur campaigns. 


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