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Outrage Over Beating of an Elephant

June 04, 1988

It is a sad comment on the motives of the San Diego Zoological Society when keepers who are concerned about the well-being of an animal are made to feel threatened and uncomfortable while those responsible for the excessive treatment are protected with feeble explanations of a lost temper. If a parent had lost his or her temper and beat a child to the point that wounds took three months to heal, screams of child abuse would be heard far and wide!

Unfortunately, the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" treatment our local media bestows upon the zoological society is partly responsible for these excesses. Too often the media focuses on "warm fuzzy" stories of trained baby animals and dedicated keepers. I have no doubt that the majority of the keepers at the zoo and Wild Animal Park are dedicated professionals and that trained animals are necessary to promote a better understanding of and empathy for exotic animals, but such stories are not enough!

In order to support, manage, and improve the future of all species (including humans) we must look at and deal with the whole picture. Bravo to The Times for printing the unpopular, unpleasant story of alleged animal abuse and to the elephant keepers at the zoo who didn't lose their tempers and kept Dunda's well-being their primary objective.

GINGER ANDERSON

La Mesa

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