AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A Circuit of the Americas promotion with the Austin Bold FC has grabbed the attention of animal rights organization PETA.
Last week, Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein spoke with the press while holding a chicken.
"Next Wednesday night we have 'Farmer in the Del Valle' night. And it's 'bring your own farm animal.' You can look online and see the list of acceptable farm animals," Epstein said.
Attendees who bring a farm animal to the Austin Bold FC's Wednesday night match get in free. According to Epstein, it's one of many events they're doing this season surrounding the games.
"I hope we see some horses and I hope we have some donkeys and some goats and anything else," Epstein said. "I think there's a lot of rabbits in town that should come out and visit us."
Epstein says local 4H students will benefit.
"Some of the members of the 4H Club will be out here to make sure the animals are well treated and they're going to get to take care of them and we're going to make a donation to the 4H club," he said.
The Austin Bold's tweet last week about the farm animals got some feedback.
"Guys you're 10 days late for April Fools, c'mon," one user said.
"Aw they're cute," said someone else.
"That wasn't a good idea," said another user.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA also think it's a bad idea.
"Animals really don't have a choice to be there," PETA spokesperson John Di Leonardo said. "I mean the players and fans choose to be at Austin Bold's game but the animals don't have that choice. They're going to be subjected to stressful transport, the bright lights, screaming fans and even clanging cowbells."
PETA says they're calling on the team to pull the plug on this "cruel and dangerous promotion" and ban animals from all events because animals shouldn't be subjected to this.
"I'm still hopeful that they're going to do the right thing and show the public that they care about the humane treatment of animals instead of exploiting them just for a cheap gimmick," Leonardo said.
The event also does not really benefit students to Leonardo as he said it teaches the wrong lessons.
"I think that this type of event teaches students all of the wrong lessons that animals are here for our exploitation that they're here to use and abuse any way we see fit," Leonardo said.
Austin historian Fred McGhee tweeted PETA would have benefited from reading his book on the Montopolis neighborhood and the Del Valle area.
"The history of the region is an agricultural one. COTA is big enough. Austin Bold FC is to be commended for its community engagement," the tweet read.
"Farming's been a part of the culture here and part of life and as the city moves we don't want to lose some of that identity," Epstein said.
FOX 7 reached out to COTA about the backlash they're getting from PETA. They couldn't comment.