Rarely are animals at the center of conversation in MLB. However, the Tampa Bay Rays have been asked by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals aka PETA to remove the infamous “Touch Tank” that has been a unique staple at Tropicana Field. PETA is known for respecting animals rights and this time it’s sticking up for the rays who are relegated to that tank.
Here is an excerpt from an e-mail that PETA director of captive animal law enforcement Delcianna Winders sent to Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president John Higgins:
“Your tank has the additional danger of being in a baseball stadium, where a ray could easily be injured or killed by an errant ball. Cruelty-to-animals charges could well result if and when a ball hits and injures or kills one of the rays. And as recent events have demonstrated, that threat is all too real.”
Winders is obviously referring to the home run ball that Miguel Cabrera hit into the “touch tank” on June 30th. With that being said, only two home runs have splashed down in this tank since it was made open to the public on July 21st, 2006 — the 35-foot long, 10,000 gallon tank is made of fiberglass and can hold up to 30 cownose rays.
I get that the Rays need to sell tickets and that they are the only team in the league that has a interactive tank at the ballpark. Yet, the animal lovers are concerned that the stadium atmosphere could easily take the life of a Ray and decrease the animal’s already dwindling population.
Whether or not the Rays will even respond to this e-mail remains to be seen, but the pressure has definitely been put the MLB organization responsible for the infamous “touch tank.”