Monday, May 10, 2010

Can This Elephant Be Saved?

This article was originally posted at on April 21, 2010.
The decision has been made, paper work has been signed, and the judge has agreed to the plan. Queenie must be delivered to the San Antonio Zoo no later than Monday, April 26. Done deal, right? Maybe not. Tens of thousands of people just like you and me have voiced their opposition to this action. We’ve called Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, sent emails and faxes to his office, signed petitions and encouraged our friends to join us. The animal activists who worked on arranging Queenie’s transfer to a sanctuary haven’t given up. They’re still hard at work exploring every avenue to have this agreement rescinded. In Defense of Animals sent a letter to Sec’y Vilsack, clearly explaining why Queenie should not be sent to this zoo. Pat Derby, Director of PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, has written a letter to the USDA reminding them of her formal offer to accept Queenie. The original offer was made six months ago, describing the facilities and level of care that would be provided to Queenie. The elephants currently residing there roam over peaceful hillsides and valleys, enjoying the varied terrain that builds strength and stamina while healing foot conditions that are common in confined zoo enclosures. They are not put on display or expected to perform for the public. Now, even higher profile voices have entered the discussion. Bob Barker, Emmy award winning television host, is speaking out, asking that the situation be corrected. He had this to say:
"Secretary Vilsack, Queenie has already suffered at the hands of humans. She has endured a lifetime of captivity in traveling shows. You have a unique opportunity to do the right thing for this beautiful animal. Please send her to the PAWS sanctuary to live out her sunset years. And my pledge to you is that it won't cost the United States government a penny."
Joyce Poole, the noted elephant expert and Director of Elephant Voices, also weighed in on the needs of elephants. In a letter she reminded the Secretary of the USDA’s mandate to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, which is intended to protect animals from inhumane treatment and conditions. She pointed out that the choice is between a facility designed for the long term care and rehabilitation of elephants or a zoo that has been described as one of the worst places for elephants. Will Secretary Vilsack listen to these people who know about the needs of elephants? Or is he listening to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums? They’ve done nothing to monitor circuses for abuse. They’ve done nothing to protect elephants and other animals forced to perform for abusive and neglectful owners. The AZA wants to acquire more elephants to stock their zoos. There is no conservation in taking in an older elephant. They want her for entertainment value. It’s vital for Queenie’s health that she be allowed to retire to a sanctuary. PAWS had an agreement in place before the USDA intervened. Please continue to call the USDA at 202-720-3631, send a fax to 202-720-2166, email them at Sign the petition. Tell a friend about Queenie and ask them to contact the USDA and Sec’y Vilsack. Do it today. Do it right now. Let’s melt the phone lines, wear out the fax machine and flood his inbox. Can this elephant be saved? I have to believe the answer is “Yes”.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Elephants need all of us to care and help them. What are your thoughts after reading this post? Give us a rumble: