Why the Danish zoo shot Marius dead | Feb. 16, Perspective
Pressure zoo to change its ways
I read Robert Young's apologia for the Danish zoo's killing of Marius the giraffe in Sunday's Times. I don't buy it.
I am reminded of an incident from the British Raj in India. After the British outlawed suttee, the practice of burning women alive on their husband's funeral bier, a group of male Indian worthies approached the governor general of a province and asked him to suspend the decree, arguing that it was their tradition, necessary for the cultural conservation of their society.
The governor general replied that there was a tradition in his country as well: "When men burn women alive, we hang them."
If a group of people practice infanticide or some other form of human sacrifice they believe necessary for their conservation, it is not incumbent upon civilized society to try to understand their mind-set. All that is necessary is that we know the practice is disgusting and repellent in the extreme and must stop.
If the Danes will not practice modern birth control with their giraffes and other animals, including spaying or neutering, then perhaps they shouldn't have those animals. And if they don't change, then pressure needs to be brought to bear to force them to do so.
Danny Ball, Tampa
Why the Danish zoo shot Marius dead Feb. 16, Perspective
Cruelty to animals
For the Copenhagen zoo to claim that Marius had to go because he was surplus raises questions as to why he was allowed to be born in the first place. Weren't they aware that he would be a "surplus" offspring? Additionally, it seems that shooting him with a bolt gun and then cutting him up in front of spectators is hardly euthanasia. Why wasn't he spared for breeding and an older animal put down? Or did they raise him for food in the first place? Talk about cruelty to animals.
Ken Carion, Springdale, Pa.
A more humane option
To say that the euthanasia, dissection and eating of a healthy giraffe "highlights the cultural differences between Denmark" and us might be the understatement of the year. I understand overpopulation. I get the concept that wild herds of animals need to be thinned or culled for the betterment of the species.
When dealing with captive animals, wouldn't contraception be a whole lot more humane? The other part of what I find upsetting is the little kids with a ringside seat to this. Look at the picture: There are kids not much past the toddler stage standing in the front row. They're about to watch this beautiful animal get sliced apart.
I guess different cultures see things differently. I've never understood eating cats and dogs, but it's pretty common in some cultures. Many humans seem to have an arrogance and disdain for other species that can be disturbing. We're all creatures sharing a habitat. Why not treat other species with respect?
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Driverless cars' ultimate test: people Feb. 18
Safety is drivers' duty
This was an interesting article, but if safer roadways is the goal, the direction should be toward developing responsible, competent drivers rather than transferring responsibility to machines. Auto manufacturers have done a great job of building safer cars, but they are driven by people who consistently ignore the rules of the road, road signs, traffic signals, lane markings, directional signals, headlights, rights of way and speed limits.
Periodic retesting of drivers, both written and road, and inspections of vehicles will immediately purge our roadways of dangerous drivers if the consequences of incompetence are re-education and loss of license.
Maureen Zilles, Largo
Sink should have accepted debate Feb. 19, letter
Nothing to be gained
I agree with Alex Sink's decision not to have another debate with David Jolly. The earlier debate showed the positions of each candidate on most, if not all, of the major issues.
What would be the purpose of another debate? It would only give each candidate a chance to twist and distort the truth. Don't we see enough of that on television each day? The only reason I can see to have another debate is to determine who is the most polished and suave speaker. If that were the most important criterion we would elect only used car salesmen.
How many times did David Jolly's mentor, Bill Young, debate? I can't remember one.
Ronald Piencykoski, Clearwater
Reform protects benefits
Look no further for the next potential financial crisis than the end of 2014, when key provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 are set to expire. Today, more than 10 million Americans participate in multiemployer pension plans in industries including construction, entertainment, retail, health care and transportation. These plans are in jeopardy. Many have been hit by the Great Recession, and the federal agency that backstops the plans is itself on the brink of running out of money.
Labor and business leaders put their heads together for a commonsense and self-help solution. For plans at risk of going insolvent, it provides a road map to help preserve retiree benefits. For plans recovering from the financial crisis, it provides new, innovative plan designs that will help them in the future. The proposal is called "Solutions Not Bailouts" and it doesn't require taxpayers to foot the bill — but it does require Congress to act.
Our representatives should support these solutions before there's a crisis.
Ed Chambers, president, United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 1625, Lakeland
Florida's a war zone | Feb. 20, letter
Guns save lives
You hear questions about why some people carry or own guns, but never the about those who have successfully protected themselves or others.
Every day, people in the United States defend their homes, defend those they love, and continue to live because they use their lawfully owned guns. It's believed to happen about 6,500 times a day.
In fact, privately owned firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.
Robert Petrosky, Spring Hill