Letter of the Day (May 16): Minnesota Zoo

  • Updated: May 15, 2012 - 8:11 PM

Allie the dolphin swam up the viewing glass at the Minnesota Zoo on Monday, May 14, 2012 in Apple Valley, Minn.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Whenever I would take my children to an exhibit where animals were made to perform for humans, I felt a bit sad for the animals. Today, research confirms that animals who are trained to perform are stressed and greatly transformed.

They are not free; they are made to do what others want them to do; they are sometimes abused, and their lives are not whole. Ric O'Barry, the trainer of Flipper, came to realize that training the sharks and dolphins he worked with was not right.

He has written extensively about this, and documentaries have been made. One tale he has told is about a dolphin that he felt committed suicide by not coming up for air while in training.

Humans have the idea that they can control everything, without regard to the well-being of others. If you want to teach your children about species that they cannot see up-close and personal, take them to a documentary, read them a book, watch a video or talk.

Talk about what is right and how animals have feelings and emotions just like humans do. Read "When Elephants Weep" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, then weep yourself to sleep.

The Minnesota Zoo is doing the right thing ("Minnesota Zoo pulls plug on dolphin exhibit," May 15). I hope it was for the right reason.


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