Readers’ letters

Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, was fatally shot to protect a four-year-old boy who had entered the enclosure. See letter
Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, was fatally shot to protect a four-year-old boy who had entered the enclosure. See letter
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Rethink our attitude

I agree with Harry Francis’ letter about wildlife in danger (WEP June 2). His letter comes at a time when there is a lot of anger over the fate of Harambe, the gorilla who was killed at an American zoo. Whether the parents were feckless and ignorant or whether they were parents who simply lost sight of their son for a second and are totally aghast at what happened to a member of an endangered species, I do not know. Would it have been safe to use tranquillisers? I do not know. And how on earth a small child can squeeze into an enclosure of a large wild animal, I do not know.

But what I do know is this. If zoos cannot protect an endangered species and, ironically, end up killing them, perhaps it is time to say zoos like that have had their day.

I have always had a soft spot for zoos, they formed part of a happy childhood for me, but the older I get, the more I feel we don’t seem to be able to look after large, endangered animals properly.

Create, maintain and extend wildlife reserves in their natural habitat. Protect them from poachers, protect their land from developers... do this and you might well find their numbers increase.

Maybe there are too many of us humans. Perhaps it is time for us to be more considerate of the natural world and, for those who want children, have smaller families, and for those who don’t, choose not to have children. But please, teach your children respect for wildlife. We have enough arrogant humans who are violent and cruel, the next generation needs to be kinder.

But instead of the anger directed at the zoo and the parents, why not turn this fury into something positive? Learn about gorillas and other endangered species and support a charity looking after them in the wild. Why not visit www.bornfree.org.uk?

Jane via email

policing

Facts about Orgreave

I read with interest the letter from Ron Firth re: Orgreave (WEP May 31). His comments would be amusing if it was not such a serious subject. No one disputes that the police were doing their duty to attend this location in order to maintain law and order. Also I know the miners were no angels as I was one myself. There were flashpoints on picket lines and the mining communities are not being precious about a bit of argy bargy. The main difference though is the miners, dressed in jeans, T-shirts and trainers, indulged in some ritual pushing and shoving. The police, in full riot gear, indulged in indiscriminate violence. The tit-for-tat claims on the violence though are less significant than the aftermath. Many miners were charged with offences such as riot and affray for merely being onlookers and then were hauled away by snatch squads. Despite being found innocent, there were widespread sackings by the National Coal Board. This was followed by a strong suspicion of black listing and years of unemployment. Ron trots out the usual inaccuracies such as “...Scargill having removed Ted Heath from office.” Heath was defeated in two separate general elections in 1974. He was removed by the British public, not Scargill.

The pit closures were deemed an economic necessity but were in fact an act of political spite in revenge for the demise of Heath. The smokescreen of some fantasy Marxist insurrection was used to deflect from this economic and social vandalism. The miners had no choice to make a stand even if Scargill had never existed. Ron’s reactionary attitude reflects what was prevalent in the 80s and illustrates why a poor government approach to social order, policing and dissent have come back to haunt us.

David Perry via email