From the Publisher's Inbox
Posted on July 26, 2005
Rick LoBello's opinion piece is the same old, extremist argument the zoo industry uses to protect its business interests. The zoo industry won't admit that there is an epidemic problem with housing elephants in zoos. The zoo industry knows, that elephants in zoos die on average at roughly half their natural 70-year lifespan and suffer horribly from captivity-induced health problems. Some zoos now are trying to change the facts - because the facts show that problems are caused by zoos' inability to house the largest land mammal. So, like all who are guilty, LoBello quickly diverts the public's attention from the suffering of elephants to his extremist argument that "zoos are in jeopardy."
If the zoo industry truly cared about saving endangered species they would stop wasting money and start donating substantial funding (of the multi-billion-dollar zoo industry) to the poor, range countries in Asia and Africa, that need financial incentives to preserve habitat and increase anti-poaching efforts. Each zoo that holds elephants spends millions of dollars for a small number of elephants. Instead that money could be used for TRUE conservation: $10,000 pays for one year's salary, food, supplies for a 10-man anti-poaching team in Asia (WildAid.org) and for less than $1 million per year more than 1 million acres of Cambodian wildlife are preserved and protected (www.cambodiawildlifesanctuary.com)!
HABITAT PROTECTION and ANTI-POACHING efforts are the only TRUE conservation - every thing else is just a business. It's time for the zoos to put the animals and TRUE conservation before their business interests and to stop lying to the public.
San Francisco Bay Area
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Mr. LoBello makes very good points in his article about elephants in zoos. The people trying to get the El Paso elephants sent away are also the same people who opposed a group of African elephants being brought into the United States. These people stated that they would rather see elephants dead than in zoos. Clearly animal rights groups (practically terrorists based on their harrassment activities) such as these do not care about elephants as much as they want to hurt zoos.
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An Educated Workforce or Tax Cuts for the Wealthy?
On July 21, lawmakers convened for the Second Special Session of the 79th Legislature to debate school finance and tax reform.
Our debate should be about great schools. Our debate should be about an educated workforce that can compete for good jobs in the 21st century with a fair and modern tax system to support it.
Instead, it is about tax cuts, tax cuts for the wealthiest 10% in a state that already raises less money for state services than all but Florida. Before the stroke of midnight yesterday, the Governor’s proclamation for a new session hit our desks proclaiming the need for tax cuts, not great schools.
Based on recent polls, Texans want kids educated, not tax cuts for the wealthy few.
The regular legislative session and the first special session failed because of failed priorities. Under the most recent versions of H.B. 2 and H.B. 3, nine in ten Texans get tax hikes and a bare 3% increase in funding to cover inflation at schools that serve 4 million Texas children, while the wealthiest 10% get tax cuts and millions of new dollars for schools that serve 400,000 children.
While 70% of Texans want to close tax loopholes exploited by business and avoid increases in the sales taxes; H.B. 3 raises sales taxes and leaves the loopholes.
Texans know better. In today's Texas, these are exactly the wrong policies. Leading means taking risks to guarantee that tomorrow is better than today, instead of just playing to the base. Let's work once more to guarantee a great education to all children, and a fair tax system to support it.
Senator Eliot Shapleigh
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