Zoo members also support 'animal rights'Brian Rutledge...

the Forum

March 24, 1992

Zoo members also support 'animal rights'

Brian Rutledge, executive director of the Baltimore Zoo, warns that some groups that appear "moderate" may actually want to shut down all zoos and aquariums (Mar. 8). The article stated that some officials urged journalists to investigate animal rights groups that exist mainly to generate publicity and donations.

During a members' picnic a few years ago, Mr. Rutledge told me (I'm sure he has forgotten) that he would "prefer" to let all the zoo animals go free, but that it was obvious they wouldn't survive for long.

This sounds like he once understood why some would like to close down zoos and aquariums. As a supporting member of the zoo, I'd like to remind him that a number of zoo supporters also belong to the animal rights movement and that by supporting the zoo we are helping the animals that reside there.

As far as animal rights groups and aquariums, anyone reading The Evening Sun has had many opportunities to learn all viewpoints on whether watching dolphins jump through hoops is "educational."

If aquariums must keep dolphins penned up to display them, they could at least quit calling such money-generating attractions "educational," and instead call them "entertainment." As a former biology teacher, I never taught my students anything about "dolphin basketball" but I did discuss and show films about wild dolphins' behavior and intelligence.

Perhaps your reporters should investigate how certain pro-animal organizations handle financial affairs. Possibly they could unveil the fate of new-born zoo animals after they get beyond the "cute" state and are too old to attract publicity.

James G. Clark


Helmet law

No matter what side of the aisle you stood on in the motorcycle helmet law debate, it is interesting that for 20 years the boys of Annapolis considered it an individual freedom of choice, until this year.

Israel bashing

The Bush administration heard a rumor that Israel had sold Patriot missiles to the Chinese. Instead of discounting this as vicious gossip, Bush spokespersons focused on the administration's concern and the need for an in-depth investigation.

Next, President Bush and Secretary of State Baker took a stance on the loan guarantee which made it abundantly clear that no Palestinian need take the risk of negotiating with Israel because the United States will do it instead. Talk about changing the balance of power!

Then, a bunch of emboldened terrorists blew up a synagogue in Argentina. People were killed and several buildings were destroyed.

Are you reminded of the deluge of truly anti-Semitic mail George Bush received after the September 1991 press conference at which he chastised Jewish Americans for coming to Washington to lobby their elected representatives on the loan guarantee issue? I am.

Frank Kanterman


America's health care tragedy

Robin Miller's straight-talking op-ed pieces have always attracted my attention. However, his commentary on the state of health care (March 13) hit me where I live as a public health/preventive medicine physician.

The real tragedy in Mr. Miller's situation is not that he'd have to rob a bank to get access to health care if he gets sick; it's that as a self-confessed nicotine addict, he doesn't have access right now to a primary care physician who can help him quit smoking before he gets sick.

Without timely access to proven preventive measures, Mr. Miller and others are at significant risk of serious smoking-related health problems -- lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, etc. if he doesn't get help quitting now, and if our nation doesn't do something about the dismal state of access to both curative and preventive health care, it's pretty sure that he'll have to rob that bank.

It's a shame someone should go to federal prison for smoking -- unless, of course, it's the tobacco industry.

Cynthia M. Lipsitz, M.D., M.P.H.


Cheating on us

I cannot get excited or concerned about members of the Congress writing checks or a private bank for amounts that their colleagues make good.

I am, though, concerned and angry about the excellent free health care that the White House and staff, the senators and representatives get. Yet these groups are doing precious little to make good health care accessible and affordable for all Americans. They don't worry about the cost of their mammograms, flu shots, doctor visits, hospital stays. They don't get notices that say: ''This service is not covered under your contract.'' ''The balance of this claim has been referred to a special unit.'' ''The reduction of billed charges amount exceeds the amount eligible for benefits.'' ''If this bill is not paid within 30 days . . .''

I expect members of Congress to attend to the public's interest, including health care. Let them cheat on their colleagues, if they must, not on us.

Mary Klarman


Air pollution

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