Sunday, June 21, 2009

Activists urge zoo to send elephant to U.S. sanctuary

June 21st, 2009

A local animal rights group rallied at the Valley Zoo yesterday morning to raise awareness about the well-being of Lucy the elephant and to mark the first International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos.

The Edmonton-based Voice For Animals claims the 32-year-old elephant and Valley Zoo favourite is suffering from various health issues and should be moved to a sanctuary to roam free with other elephants.

“Lucy looks unhappy,” said group spokesman Tove Reece. “This is our ongoing campaign to put pressure on the zoo and on the city to have Lucy moved.”

Reece said two elephant sanctuaries in the U.S. have offered to provide a place for Lucy and to send their veterinarians here to examine her.

Reece has been in touch with zoo officials over the years but they refuse to move Lucy because she is a “cause celebre” for the zoo’s fundraising efforts, she said.

About 10 ralliers and the group’s elephant mascot stood at the entrance of the zoo waving signs that read “Set Lucy Free” as participants for the Memory Walk strolled past.

Some walk participants waved while vehicles passing by honked in support. But others rebuked the group for demonstrating during the event, which raises money for Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is not the time and place to be doing this,” one woman said angrily when a demonstrator offered her a pamphlet.

Other organizations as well as a few celebrities have fought hard to rescue Lucy over the years. But zoo officials and city councillors insist Lucy is doing well and is well taken care of where she is.

Activists staged similar protests yesterday around the world. A small group of people stood outside the Toronto Zoo waving signs reading “elephants suffer in zoos” just a week after Tessa, a 40-year-old elephant, died there.

Just wondering if any animal activists are standing outside of the so called sanctuary in Tenn,waving signs after 2 elephants died there in 2 days.??.