Volume 76, Number 6 | June 28 - July 4 2006

Letters to the editor

Walking the walk, sort of

To The Editor:
Re “Committee members defied V.I.D., backed Hillary” (news article, June 14):

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton walks obliquely and carries a feather duster.

John Stanley

Right on Rosie

To The Editor:
Kudos to Councilmember Rosie Mendez for supporting legislation that will curtail the abuse of animals in circuses and traveling shows (“Mendez cracks whip on use of wild animals in circuses,” news article, June 14). It’s self-serving and predicable for those who make their living by using animals to tout the “strict laws” which supposedly govern their businesses. In reality, the federal Animal Welfare Act imposes the bare minimum standards of care. For example, by law, cages only need be large enough for an animal to stand up, lie down and turn around. There are no prohibitions on “training tools,” such as steel-tipped bull hooks, whips and chains. The public should know that laws simply do not protect animals used in circuses and traveling displays. The only way to avoid supporting the cruel mistreatment of animals is to avoid patronizing these shows, or, as Ms. Mendez proposes, prohibiting the use of animals altogether.

Jennifer O’Connor
O’Connor is the Animals in Entertainment Campaign writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

To The Editor:
Re “Mendez cracks whip on use of wild animals in circuses” (news article, June 14):

Thank you so much for running your wonderful coverage of the introduction of a Bill, by City Council member Rosie Mendez, to ban exotic animals from performing in the city.  Regardless of what Ringling Bros. says in its defense, the evidence speaks for itself.   Hopefully, the City Council will vote on the evidence, and not be swayed by Ringling Brothers’ lobbyist.

Virtually every animal protection group in the U.S. and many in other countries are opposed to the abusive methods used by Ringling Bros. and other circuses to “train” their animals.

In a March 20, 2003 press release, the A.S.P.C.A. stated, “that to “train” and “control” its elephants, Ringling Bros. routinely keeps them in chains and beats them with “bullhooks”- clubs with sharp metal hooks on the end.  In support of these claims, the A.S.P.C.A. offers sworn accounts by former Ringling Bros. employees, United States Department of Agriculture documents that outline employees inflicting “physical harm” on their baby elephants, and video footage of Ringling Bros. employees striking elephants.”

Elephants suffer enormous hardships and pain during their servitude to circuses.  We may not be able to end it, but as the greatest city in the world, we ought to denounce this cruelty and say that we don’t want to support it and we don’t want it brought to our city.

Children usually love animals.  They would feel betrayed to know how their beloved elephant is treated by adults in circuses.

Jacqueline Raven

Mendez circus act

To The Editor:
Re “Mendez cracks whip on use of wild animals in circuses” (news article, June 14):

What a relief it was to pick up the recent issue of The Villager and discover that all the problems facing our neighborhood have — in fact — been solved! My wife and I were thrilled to find that all the homeless people are off the streets and getting the care that they need. It’s a huge load off our minds to learn that both the landmark status of the Village and the rent-stabilization laws that protect long-time Village residents will be safe for years to come. There are no words to describe how much we enjoy the peace and quiet of walking down West Eighth S. on a Saturday night.... and the guys selling used porn on Sixth Ave? It’s thankfully little more than a distant memory.

Oh wait, none of these things have happened? My mistake — I guess I just assumed, since Ms. Mendez has the free time to take up the burning-hot issue of animal acts in circuses, that everything else in her district was humming along just fine.

This isn’t Southhampton or Greenburgh (the towns Ms. Mendez cites as having enacted the bans she seeks) — this is New York. A real city with real issues - and it’s nothing short of outrageous that she thinks it’s appropriate to spend her time on such a relatively frivolous issue.

Joe & Suzanne Quint
West 13th (Perhaps Ms. Mendez is familiar with it - it’s the one that’s been under construction for as long as anyone can remember!)

E.U. views

To The Editor:
Your June 7 editorial, “Restaurants should not be collateral damage in bar wars” promotes the misconception, first voiced by Robert Bookman for the New York Nightlife Association, that denying new liquor licenses locks in current bar licenses and prevents a local commercial shift from bars to restaurants.

Liquor licenses are never locked in place — no bar remains in business solely to sustain a liquor license it can’t transfer. Bars fold when business slows and generally not otherwise. The mere fact that a bar has a valuable or even a unique license won’t keep its owner from selling out when business is no longer profitable. NYNA’s self-serving argument holds no merit. It’s simply false.

The underlying problems with E.U., and the reasons its residential neighbors are so upset by it, are its design and its clientele. Following current nightspot fashion, the owners have installed some large windows opening onto the street, so there is no way to keep internal noise from spilling onto the sidewalk. Along with the smoking ban, which brings patrons onto the street, E.U.’s design magnifies its environmental impact.

There was a time when nightlife was contained behind closed doors. Until that day returns, you will see local residents angrily protesting in frustration.

Rob Hollander
Hollander is a member of L.E.S. Residents for Responsible Development and L.E.S. Alliance

To The Editor:
Re “Restaurants should not be collateral damage in bar wars.” (Editorial, June 14):

Your editorial was right on. I have been a resident of the Lower East Side for 23 years and I support having a place like the European Union nearby. I saw how they conducted their business while they were open and that did not seem like a nightclub to me. If we disallow places like the European Union all we will have left are the bars and nightclubs which are causing us the present trouble. I appreciate Community Board 3’s efforts to crack down on the rowdy establishments but this time they chose the wrong target. Let the European Union be what it is — a legitimate restaurant.

MaryBeth Welsh

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