Peanuts, Cracker Jack, cownose rays in a touch tank. All of these things can be found at a Tampa Bay Rays home game, but PETA say one doesn’t belong.
John Higgins, team counsel for the Rays, received a letter from Delcianna Winders, director of PETA’s captive animal law enforcement, asking that the team remove the touch tank from Tropicana Field. Winders said the touch tank is in a dangerous position, located behind the right-center field wall, making it possible for a fish to be injured (or worse) by an errant ball. PETA’s request came shortly after Detroit Tigers’ slugger, Miguel Cabrera, hit a home run that splashed into the tank. Thankfully, no fish was injured. Though the tank was installed in 2006, through a partnership with The Florida Aquarium, this is only the second time a ball has made a splash. (The first time was in 2007, and no injuries were reported then, either.)
PETA stated in the letter that they hope the team and the aquarium will work together to rehabilitate the rays (which were taken from Tampa Bay and are cared for by aquarium staff) and release them back into their natural habitat.
“The rays held captive at Tropicana Field not only were traumatically taken from their vast home waters but also are subject to harassment, loud crowds, and even baseballs capable of seriously injuring them,” Winders said in a statement to the media. “When it comes to compassion, the Rays are batting .000.”
So far, the team has made no comment on the letter, but the public has been voicing their opinions on TBO.com and their Facebook page. Leaving out the more colorful language, many sports fans seem offended by PETA’s request, stating that the tank is enjoyed by adults and kids and sets Tropicana Stadium apart from other stadiums. Several commenters chimed in with a compromise of putting up a net or “shield” to protect the tank. Whatever happens, this has certainly gotten people talking!
What do you think should happen to the Tropicana Field touch tank?