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When we were children, a visit to the zoo was a pleasure. As we age, we go less often. Part of the reason, I believe, has to do with the realization that being caged is not a good thing. There is something not quite right about us limiting another being's space for the pleasure of our viewing.

Having not been to the Buffalo Zoo for many years, I readily accepted an invitation from a friend to walk there and try out a new camera. A pleasurable experience it was not.

Don't get me wrong. Zoos do some good in helping curb extinction. I enjoy the opportunity to see exotic animals. However, the animal's comfort should matter. Money shortages considered, I am sure staff members are doing the best they can.

I also can understand the concerns of area residents regarding property values, should the zoo move. But what about the combined concerns of all city residents and the need to create a kinder environment for the animals?

It seems to me that the greater concerns of the many -- animals and people alike -- should outweigh the few. We cannot continue to block changes that would improve Buffalo.

The recent decision to keep the zoo where it is was disappointing. It is not possible to improve the zoo here, as some claim. It is a shameful statement to visitors -- unkept grounds, small cages and animals so obviously depressed that you will be unable to avoid becoming so yourself.

We need to stop caging ourselves in a failing city. We need to draw in a tourist trade.

The success of increased national entertainment at Marine Midland Arena, and bigger shows coming to our improved Shea's Performing Arts Center, are signs that, if we build it, they will come.



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