Petting zoo magic
In your Nov. 13 editorial “Zoos’ closing time,” you wrote that “(u)nless and until there's a completely reliable method of assuring that no young child will contract E. coli-related illnesses at fairs’ petting zoos, the operations ... should be prohibited.” The only petting zoo I can think of that would have no risk of E. coli illness would involve goats snorkeling in giant vats of hand sanitizer. Indeed, in recent years we have learned that apple juice and spinach do not meet this ridiculously strenuous standard.
All human activities involve risk. For most children, getting to the fair is a far riskier endeavor than petting goats and pigs. Assuming that there is sufficient notification to parents of the risks, reasonable procedures for cleanliness and plenty of hand sanitizer, let parents decide.
You suggest taking away what for many children is one of the only encounters they may have with these animals, a magical experience to watch, and one that may lead to a lifetime of appreciation of animals, and even future choices of vocation in order to prevent a very rare event from occurring. That is a risk that I am not willing to take, and thankfully, one that you cannot take away.