Zoos: educational experiences or animal life sentences?

You can imagine my surprise when I was reading your June 9 article titled "Nagging questions on the wisdom of zoos" and came across a quote discussing Zoo Atlanta's level of commitment to conservation efforts and admission prices.

For the last two decades, Zoo Atlanta has been a recognized leader in animal conservation and research, conducting efforts in Africa, China, and Central and South America.

In regards to price, Zoo Atlanta receives no public funding for our operational budget. With that said, we pride ourselves on providing an excellent zoo experience for the price. Zoos and aquariums are living classrooms and ideal venues for developing emotional ties to wildlife. They play an integral role in educating the community. More than 9 million students visit and enjoy on-site education programs at zoos and aquariums each year - over 3.5 million of them visit free of charge. These educational programs are an important tool for conveying the need to conserve wildlife and wild places.

Because of the excellent professionals who run Zoo Atlanta, and the strategic choices being made for the collection of animals, we believe that our efforts can have a major impact on preserving biodiversity on Earth.
Dennis Kelly
President & CEO, Zoo Atlanta

I believe the time has come for an end to keeping animals caged in zoos for the remainder of their lives.

We should shelter animals that have been orphaned or abused and turn the zoos into wildlife rehab centers where children can learn compassion by seeing an animal in need and taking an active role in helping it to recover.

We have become insensitive to the plight of wild animals who are stripped from their own families and shipped off to other countries never to see their homeland again.

Give wild animals the same freedom we want as people. Let them live among their own and not be sacrificed for the sake of human entertainment.
Nancy Peterson
Yorktown, Va.

Italians did right by life

Regarding the June 14 article "In Europe, Italy now a guardian of embryo rights": I commend the Italian people for for not approving the assisted fertility referendum that sought to overturn key provisions in a law passed last year.

The law bans donations of sperm and eggs, defines life as beginning at conception, and allows fertility treatment only to "stable heterosexual couples" who are living together and can prove infertility.

When considering in vitro fertilization, there is a relationship of domination of researchers over their embryonic subjects, which not only opens the door to new threats against life but is contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.

On a biological level the pre-natal being is not like any other tissue: it is human with its own DNA indicating that it has the same fundamental and moral right to life as any other human being.

I hope this awareness will awaken people and governments around the globe to their moral obligation to support the natural generation of human life and protect it in all phases of its existence from conception to natural death.
Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario

Senate collaboration is a welcoming step

Regarding the June 14 article "An odd couple and the energy bill": Cooperation in the Senate to introduce serious energy legislation favorably structured to control, and perhaps reduce, global warming, is most reassuring. Taking this crucial subject out of the ideological straitjacket is long overdue.
Al Ujcic
San Francisco

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