Thursday, May 6, 2010

Queenie’s Retirement at Risk

This article was originally posted at on April 18, 2010.
In June, 2009, I had the honor to meet three lovely ladies named Tina, Jewel and Queenie. They’re Asian Elephants, and they came to town to perform with the Shrine Circus. The photo at left is Queenie, who was being used for rides before the show and during intermission.As it turns out, that weekend was the last time Tina, Jewel and Queenie performed in the circus. In fact, Tina and Jewel now live at San Diego Zoo where they are getting on very well. Queenie still lives in Texas with her trainer, even though he is no longer licensed. He’s facing fines and possible jail time due to numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act. We’ve spent nearly a year trying to have Queenie sent to a sanctuary for a proper retirement. PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, made a formal offer to the USDA to provide her with lifetime care. Unfortunately the USDA has other ideas. They have forced Queenie’s owner, Will Davenport, to turn her over to the San Antonio Zoo. This is unacceptable. The San Antonio Zoo has a lone Asian elephant, the unfortunately named Lucky, in a barren, half acre enclosure. This is too small for one elephant, much less two. The hard packed dirt and lack of room for exercise causes foot problems and arthritis, and the gunite (fake rock) wall behind the exhibit retains and radiates heat, making the area even more uncomfortable. Lucky has had difficulty accepting new elephants into this small space. Queenie has also had problems meeting new elephants. Putting them together with nowhere to get away from each other is a recipe for trouble. The director of the zoo, Steve McCusker, has plans to remodel the area into an exhibit for African animals. That means that Lucky and Queenie would be sent away, the remodeling would take place, and then new, African elephants would move in. Where would Lucky and Queenie go? No one seems to know. On the other hand, if Queenie went to PAWS, she would have 40 acres of varied natural terrain to roam with four other Asian elephants. If she had any problems adjusting to her new roommates, there is plenty of space for them to get away from other. She would not be on display, not have to work, and this would be her home for the rest of her life. I believe that the USDA’s decision is the wrong one. Queenie should go to PAWS. If you agree, please contact Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack by phone at 202-720-3631 and tell him that there is a better choice. Ask him to send Queenie to PAWS. Then, please follow up with an email to him at Queenie could be moved at any time. Please call right away. For more information, see PAWS or the IDA Blog

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: