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PETA revives call to close down stingray touch tank at the Trop

Tampa Bay RaysWith another home run hit in the stingray touch tank past the outfield wall at Tropicana Field, PETA is calling on the Tampa Bay Rays to shut down the fan attraction.

It’s not a new plea: PETA contacted the Rays about shutting down the tank earlier this year. Since it opened, three batters have managed to hit a ball that far: the Dodgers’ Luis Gonzalez in 2007, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera earlier this season, and the Rays’ Jose Lobaton Monday night — a dramatic shot that kept the Rays in the playoffs. That ball, by the way, remained in the tank during last night’s game: the TBS team prominently displayed it during the broadcast.

That brought a press release from PETA today, calling one again for the touch tank to be shut down at the end of the season. Here’s the letter sent from PETA to the Rays Senior Vice President and General Counsel John Higgins:

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,

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

On the one hand, the tank is run in association with sponsor Florida Aquarium, and access for fans petting the rays is limited to 50 per game. On the other hand, it does seem cruel to confine an animal to such a small space.

(As a followup: No, it was not true a Boston Red Sox fan tossed a ray and was thrown out of the game.)

RELATED STORIES: PETA: Save the rays at the Trop


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