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September 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Ringling Bros. animals are thriving
In their recent letter to the editor, Nancy and David Spilberg have their “facts” about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey animal care all wrong. [“Northwest Voices: Here comes the circus,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 23.]
The claims they make are a direct affront to the men and women with Ringling Bros. who care for our animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s time we set the record straight.
Ringling Bros. has more than 143 years of experience caring for elephants, tigers and other exotic animals. We are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Spilbergs seem to echo claims made by other animal-rights activists, by demonizing approved elephant-husbandry tools that are humanely used by highly trained and experienced professionals.
All of the routines audiences see at Ringling Bros. are based on the animals’ natural behaviors (yes, elephants lie down, sit up and stand on their heads, I’ve seen it firsthand), and all of our animals are trained using only positive reinforcement, repetition and reward.
Everyone with Ringling Bros. hopes Greater Seattle-area families will come and see for themselves what we know to be true: that our animals are healthy and thriving in our care.
Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications, Feld Entertainment, Vienna, Va.
May 2, 2013 at 8:33 PM
Smart, sensitive alternative needed to prevent horse overpopulation
What we need now are some common sense and compassionate policies in order to control wild horse populations ["N.M. horse slaughter plant to open soon," seattletimes.com, April 30]. Experts in the field agree that the practice of slaughtering horses is not the appropriate answer for pet overpopulation.
For example, the University of Toledo reports a wild horse birth-control measure that is extremely effective. Further, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that the department “needs to be more creative” regarding the horse overpopulation problem.
Katherine Pfeifle, Lynnwood
May 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Wolves beneficial to ecosystems
Delisting gray wolves would be a giant step backward and undo the progress we have made since 1995 [“Fed plan would end gray wolf protection,” NWSaturday, April 27].The unfounded fear and hatred of wolves by hunters and ranchers is fueled by inaccuracies and misconceptions. Statistics compiled by Cornell University for the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that more livestock deaths are from non-predator-related causes than predators, and those predators are more likely to be coyotes, cougars, bobcats, or dogs than wolves.
Scientific evidence shows ecosystems improve with wolves in the picture. Not only are riverbanks, trees and vegetation impacted in a positive manner, but an elk who provided food to a wolf pack also feeds bears, coyotes, ravens and magpies, to name a few, who benefit from wolves on the landscape.
Wolves have restored the balance of nature. Let’s keep it that way.
Joan Amero, Portland, Ore.
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