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Street Smarts

If animals at the zoo, circus or rodeo could talk, what would they say about their place in the human scheme of things?

click to enlarge Bob Rodgers

Bob Rodgers of the central area works at Current

Are zoos a positive or a negative reflection of our society? Zoos help preserve some animal species, but their negatives outweigh the positives. When I visited the old section of the San Diego Zoo years ago, the elephants were so utterly depressed in their cages that I haven't gone to a zoo since.

How about the circus? Same thing. Rodeos, too. I hate seeing animals dominated and put on exhibit for human entertainment.

Have you witnessed an instance of animal mistreatment? The worst was a calf-roping event at a rodeo. A cowboy lassoed a calf around its neck and jerked it backward off its feet. The calf didn't get up. As they drug it away, the announcer said, "Don't worry folks; the little fella will be OK," but it was obviously dead.

click to enlarge Linda Ernst

Linda Ernst of Vista Mesa is a worm farmer

Do zoos serve more of a positive or a negative purpose? Zoos help preserve certain species from extinction, but I don't agree with putting animals on show in unnatural habitats where they're not really happy.

Have your views on this matter evolved since you were a kid? I loved going to the circus as a kid, though I was afraid of clowns. A kid, though, isn't aware of things like elephants having to live with chains around their legs.

What is your impression of PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals]? I used to like them, but not now. They're disrespectful to people. It's hypocritical to demand kindness for animals and then do things like throw pies into the faces of rodeo queens.

Would you rather work for a zoo or a circus? A zoo. You could use your position to educate people about the care, treatment and preservation of animals.

click to enlarge Ibrahim Haruna

Ibrahim Haruna of the west side is a software developer

Are zoos more a positive or a negative thing? They're somewhat positive when the animals are well cared-for and people get to see them. Confinement in a zoo, though, is nowhere close to roaming free in the wild, like animals do where I come from in Nigeria.

How about circuses? Circus animals are often treated cruel to make them obey commands.

What does "animal rights activist" bring to mind? It makes me think of an incident a few years ago, where animal-rights activists who tried to free a group of confined animals were declared terrorists by the government. I side with the activists on this. We claim to revere freedom, yet we cage animals.


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