You'll Be Sorry: After the Zoo-Animal Euth Scare, Six More Revised Budget-Impact Statements

NEWS ITEM: The operators of the Franklin Park Zoo, who last week warned that some animals might have to be destroyed if state lawmakers don't restore funding, say they won't be euthanizing any animals as a result of state budget cuts....In a revised statement released Saturday, Zoo New England said it meant the state would be forced to care for the animals or euthanize them. --Boston Globe

--Backtracking from previous statements, McLean Hospital officials now say they will not be forced to rent patients out for cosmetics-industry testing if budget cuts remain in effect for mental-health services. Hospital administrators released a statement saying that they "may be able to find less toxic experimentation options, that might not weigh quite as heavily on state lawmakers' consciences. So, they can go ahead and make those budget cuts, if they feel like they can live with that on their heads."

--A coalition of advocates for the homeless insists that in their previous comments about the likely plight of their clients if Massachusetts lawmakers do not restore their funding, the phrase "forced labor camps" was taken out of context. A spokesperson for the coalition says that they are optimistic that many homeless families can be placed in soon-to-be-vacant zoo cages.

--The top Middlesex County court administrator is seeking to clarify comments she made yesterday, in which she warned that impending budget cuts would force her to "cancel all trials, and determine guilt and innocence by coin toss." In a revised statement, she said that she would be happy to "send all of our prisoners awaiting trial over to the State House and let them sort it out."

--The executive director of the Massachusetts Hospital Association says that its members' open letter to state officials, warning that "we'll release all of our most contagious patients, and then you'll be sorry," was not intended as a threat. He said that patients will be well cared for regardless of budget decisions, "even if that means shifting resources from other operations -- like making sure nobody drops any vials with dangerous viruses out a lab window. Just saying."

--The Sheriff of Plymouth County is apologizing for saying that every Chuck E. Cheese in the Commonwealth will be "crawling with sex offenders" as a result of cuts included in the state's new budget. "I'm sure the Governor and legislators must have some sort of backup plan to prevent that," he says. "I mean, I'm sure they don't want our children to be snatched by dangerous pervs, even if the current version of the budget sure makes it seem that way."

--Administrators of the Greater Boston Food Bank now say that, despite earlier predictions, they are now "reasonably confident" that state lawmakers will be spared the sight of the Charles River running thick with the corpses of Massachusetts's emaciated children this summer. In a statement released today, the Food Bank says that they can probably keep the state's most vulnerable children fed for two months on the meat from euthanized zoo animals.

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