Oct 10, 2013

PETA sends open letter to Rays after Lobaton HR

by Aaron Giddens
So for the second time this year and third time ever, a home run landed in the Rays Touch Tank. This time it was Lobaton's walk-off homerun that forced game 4 of this years ALDS, which you can see here.

In response to that homerun, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), one of the largest animal rights groups in the world, is again furious and calls for the touch tank to be shut down and removed and the rays returned to the ocean.

In an letter emailed to BRaysball Talk, Delcianna Winders, Esq., Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement at PETA, called the touch tank a "little animal prison and potential death trap". I will now share with you the full email, unedited and unformated. Exactly how BRaysball Talk received it.

Animals Held and Harassed in Center-Field Stands Are at Constant Risk of Injury, Says Group

Hot on the heels of the third baseball—the second one this season alone—to go careening into the cownose ray "touch tank" at the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field, PETA has posted an action alert on its popular website asking members and supporters to demand that the team close down the dangerous tank. As the group points out in its own letter to Rays Senior Vice President John P. Higgins, rays in the touch tank are exposed to harassment and pathogens from the people clamoring to touch them—and the flying baseballs represent an additional risk of injury and death for the animals.

"The Rays' previous assurances that a player hitting a ball into the tank would be a 'virtual impossibility' don't hold water in the face of three separate incidents," says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. "PETA is calling on the Rays to make this the last season of suffering for stingrays at Tropicana Field and release the rays to be rehabilitated and returned to their rightful wild home."

For more information, please visit PETA.org. I can be reached at 323-210-2275 or SophiaC@peta.org if you have any questions.

PETA's letter to Tampa Bay Rays Senior Vice President John P. Higgins follows.

October 8, 2013

John P. Higgins
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Tampa Bay Rays

Dear Mr. Higgins,

I'm sure you knew that you would hear from us again, and here we are, urging you to begin the process of removing the stingray touch tank from Tropicana Field.

Last night, for the second time this season alone—and the third recorded time—a baseball was hit into the touch tank in the stands near center field, despite previous assurances from you that it was a "virtual impossibility" that this would happen. In addition to the harassment and pathogen exposure that these sensitive animals are subjected to at the hands of hundreds of fans clamoring to touch them, the cownose rays forced to spend their entire lives swimming in circles in a tiny tank are in danger of being struck and injured or killed by a baseball going nearly 100 miles per hour. Why risk their well-being like that?

Many have commented that the "Trop" could use some sprucing up, and getting rid of this little animal prison and potential death trap would be a great first step in that direction. With all due respect, may we please hear from you that the end of this baseball season will mark the end of the ray tank at Tropicana Field? I would love to share that news with our more than 100,000 members and supporters in Florida alone.

Yours truly,
Delci (2)

Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

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