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Three Strikes Against the Tropicana Stingray Touch Tank

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are calling “three strikes, you’re out” on Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, after a third baseball has landed in the stadium’s stingray touch tank.

During last night’s Rays v. Sox game, a ball landed in the touch tank for the second time this season (and third time ever). In a letter to John Higgins, Senior Vice President of the Tampa Bay Rays, PETA’s Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, Delicianna Winders wrote:

“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?”

PETA are urging the Tampa Bay Rays and Tropicana Field to release the cownose rays in the touch tank into rehabilitation and eventually back into their natural habitats. Hopefully this will be the last season of the rays’ captivity and the team and stadium will embrace a kinder, more compassionate feature to set Tropicana Field apart.

Photo credit: SeanPavonePhoto / Shutterstock.com

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