- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2010

Are we not over the need to use animals for our entertainment? How many families have to lose a loved one or witness a mauling to sate our need for these spectacles? (“SeaWorld faces PR challenge,” Nation, Monday). Greased pigs, dancing bears, performing elephants, acrobatic killer whales, musical monkeys, caged exotics and novelties such as a surgically altered goat that Ringling Bros. called a “unicorn” all blight our history. It is enough.

We are better than this. We have better means of entertaining ourselves than water shows, circuses and zoo exhibits. I respectfully submit to you that it is immoral to force a killer whale to swim in a tank instead of the ocean, to ask a giraffe to run around a circular cage rather than 40 miles per day in the wild and to ask an elephant to go crazy in a concrete barn, unable to walk free - for our benefit.

We must correct this. Some blithely chant that these animals must immediately be set free in the wild, but this too can be a death sentence, as we have suppressed the animals’ ability to survive without us.

We should review each species, then each individual animal within that species that is in captivity and select the best course for each based upon differences in age, health, length in captivity and physical issues (neutered, declawed, etc.). Then we can release where appropriate while simultaneously ceasing to add to the “collections.” We should increase and improve habitats for those remaining to maximize health with an eye toward redefining the future use of these spaces for places that will truly educate.

For example, we could create true science centers using computer images and animatronics placed in simulated, interactive habitats that can mentor a true sense of ethics while demonstrating a real look at native and exotic wildlife. It will take a while, but it is possible.

We can, should and must start this today.


President, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Los Angeles

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