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Trainers Cleared in Beating of Dunda at Wild Animal Park

July 09, 1988

There were two stories in the media which seem to be united by a common theme. It is that we accept that animals are to be abused for our entertainment.

The Times story about the trainers being cleared states that the chaining and beating of Dunda is a procedure used by "reputable animal facilities around the country to establish dominance over animals." Does the fact that it's standard operating procedure make it right? Once slaves were beaten for similar reasons and their abuse was sanctioned by the American society of that time. That didn't make it right.

A TV reporter on the nightly news, doing a piece on cowboys, described rodeos as a situation where men take abuse from animals. Hold on, I said. Isn't it the animals who are spurred, poked with electric prods to induce bucking, thrown down and roped against their will for human entertainment? We do not choose to recognize cruelty to animals when we see it.

Many of us go to zoos, animal parks, circuses and films featuring animals because we like to see animals. Zoos and animal shows may be entertaining for people, but they are prisons for animals. If you love animals, don't go to zoos.

GERRI FINKELSTEIN

Santa Barbara

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