Still stinks: Gee, things really are changing these days — the final days of Gitmo ("Guantánamo's Final Days," Tim Elfrink and Jesse Hyde, February 26). Yeah, they're changing the venue to U.S. military bases and other secret locations to continue torturing goat herders from Afghanistan. You should mention that, because everyone hears Obama and the media say one thing, but fails to read legislation that really says only venues and terminology are changing. The headlines read, "End of Gitmo" and "Obama Vows to End Torture," but then you look past the headline and discover they're continuing everything and changing the terminology so that torture is now called something else, like "harsh interrogation." Recent news articles quoting Gitmo detainees' attorneys say the torture is the worst it's ever been.
So don't kiss cougars: None of us wants to be told what to do ("When Animal Activists Attack," Amy Guthrie, February 26). But you have to look at the fact that this guy is saying how bad those white tigers are, but then he goes off and buys one for $5,000. So that is putting $5,000 into the pet industry that he somehow says people shouldn't support because the animals can kill you. What a joke this guy is. Seems like the children would get more real information watching Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel than having this fool come to them kissing a cougar.
Not the tigers' fault: I am sick and tired of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials not stepping in to protect the public. This man claims the animals bite and endanger him, not the public. Do they fail to see the bigger picture? If something should happen to him, who is left to care for more than 100 dangerous exotic animals? Oh well, I guess the public will foot the bill, as in every other bailout! Let him foolishly make money off of these animals, and we'll mop up the mess when something tragic finally happens — as it always does in these cases.
Obviously, there must be a reason the state allows this public endangerment to continue. If I had 100 pets, I'd have local authorities all over me. But somehow this situation with dangerous exotic animals is OK? We shouldn't infringe on his "rights" to run a profitable business and allow him to put our children in danger? Give me a break.
Not saving tigers: To quote from Dr. Ron Tilson, conservation director of the Minnesota Zoo and manager of the world-renowned Tiger Species Survival Plan: "The white tiger controversy among zoos is a small part ethics and a large part economics. The Tiger Species Survival Plan has condemned breeding white tigers because of their mixed ancestry, because most have been hybridized with other subspecies and are of unknown lineage, and because they serve no conservation purpose. Owners of white tigers say they are popular exhibit animals and increase zoo attendance and revenues as well.
"However, there is an unspoken issue that shames the very integrity of zoos, their alleged conservation programs, and their message to the visiting public. To produce white tigers or any other phenotypic curiosity, directors of zoos and other facilities must continuously inbreed father to daughter and father to granddaughter and so on. At issue is a contradiction of fundamental genetic principles upon which all species survival plans for endangered species in captivity are based. White tigers are an aberration, artificially bred and proliferated by some zoos, private breeders, and a few circuses who do so for economic rather than conservation reasons."
As for breeding tigers of any color, Tilson says, "For private owners to say, 'We're saving tigers,' is a lie. They are not saving tigers; they're breeding them for profit."
I hate this place: Tim Elfrink's "The State Rests" (February 19) is more proof we deserve to be on Forbes' worst-city list. Budget cuts here, teachers being screwed, potholes all over downtown, and a Third-World courthouse. But at least the Marlins are going to get their stadium. The banana republic reigns!