NEWS- Avoid petting zoos!

The summer guide had some great suggestions, but you did readers a disservice by failing to mention the very real health hazards of petting zoos ("Fit for a queen: HRH Elizabeth II decrees a great summer," May 24). Petting zoos are hotbeds of E. coli bacteria, and numerous children have been infected with potentially deadly diseases after visiting such displays. Infections can spread through direct animal contact or simply by touching the surroundings near an animal exhibit.

These displays are bad for animals, too. Since they are forced to interact with constant streams of excited and sometimes careless children, animals in petting zoos can be stressed and afraid. They have little control over any aspect of their lives because their eating, sleeping, socializing, roaming, grazing, and mating habits are controlled by their keepers.

The last thing any parent wants is their child getting sick; avoiding petting zoos is one simple way parents can ensure their kid's health and well-being. Readers can learn more at

Jennifer O'Connor
Animals in Entertainment Campaign Writer
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals