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Compassion for creatures

February 05, 2009

Re "L.A. won't send its pachyderm packing," Jan. 29

Some City Council decisions should be made based on popular sentiment, on fiscal concerns, on jobs or on some combination of the three. Some decisions should be made on principle alone.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to continue developing an undersized elephant enclosure instead of sending the Los Angeles Zoo's lone elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary. This decision should have been made on principle alone -- animal cruelty has no place in the 21st century.

David B. Rutan

Manhattan Beach

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Is Billy the only animal whose residence in the zoo is a poor substitute for life in the wild?

Why has no one taken up the cause of the giraffes, which run for miles in the wild? The lions and tigers that, rather than hunt, have their food given to them? Zoos give us a chance to get to know these animals. Our task is to ensure humane treatment, not to reduce the population to those few animals that are comfortable living in artificial environments.

Mark Britowich

Woodland Hills

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With all due respect for those who care deeply about Billy the elephant, and for Bob Barker's generosity in offering $1.5 million to provide a comfortable home for Billy, I offer this comment:

I work with a nonprofit organization that provides orphan care in Malawi, in Africa. The children live in mud huts with no running water or electricity, crammed in with large, extended families. For $1.5 million, we could feed thousands of children for a year, provide them with rudimentary medical care, send many of them to school and rescue critically ill or abandoned babies.

Unfortunately, our organization -- like so many others -- is experiencing a serious decline in donations. I appreciate the dedication of those who care about Billy, but I urge all of us to take action for the people of this world who live in desperate conditions.

Janet Wells

Arcadia

The writer is a U.S. board member of Ministry of Hope.

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