For years, the PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement (CALE) division has called on the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to abandon its cruel elephant-breeding program and send the elephants to a sanctuary. CALE renewed the call in August in the wake of arthritic elephant Watoto’s death, which resulted from her lying on the ground for more than eight hours, likely after she lay down to alleviate her arthritis pain and couldn’t get up again, causing irreparable damage to her organs.
Finally, the zoo announced that it’s closing its elephant display. That’s the good news. The bad news is that instead of sending the remaining elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to a sanctuary, where they could enjoy wide open spaces and the company of many other elephants, the zoo intends to ship them to another zoo. They deserve better.
The public supports CALE’s request that the zoo and the City Council do what’s best for Chai and Bamboo. A recent poll found that nearly 95 percent of those responding believe that the elephants should be sent to a sanctuary, not another cramped zoo cage.
In more CALE news:
- A seedy roadside zoo in Kentucky deceptively called Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge was slapped with an official warning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after CALE filed complaints when three wolf-dog hybrids escaped from the facility. One was found dead after being shot 14 times with tranquilizer darts during the month she was at large and may have been hit by a car, and the other two were recaptured. The USDA found that the roadside zoo failed to handle animals safely and failed to provide structurally sound enclosures. Another animal, a ram, apparently sustained several broken bones after getting out of his cage.
- It looks like Richmond, Virginia, may ban bullhooks, the standard weapon that circuses use to beat elephants into submission. Three PETA Foundation staffers who live in Richmond spoke at a city committee meeting about how elephants live in fear of these weapons. Many other Richmond residents also expressed support for the ban, and the committee voted to send the proposal to the City Council.
- PETA is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of a cougar who was found on the side of a Louisiana highway. All four of the animal’s paws were reportedly declawed, a cruel, painful procedure that violates a decades-long USDA policy but which indicates that the cougar may have been kept in someone’s private home.
- CALE weighed in on the Discovery Channel’s television “special” Eaten Alive—in which a self-described wildlife “expert” claimed that he would be eaten by a giant anaconda. Even though that didn’t happen, what we feared would happen did: a snake was tormented for “entertainment.” CALE had contacted the Discovery Channel asking it to pull the show.
- CALE staffers do take a break now and then. Delci Winders, CALE’s director, recently celebrated her all-vegan wedding.
CALE has lots of things in the works, so keep checking back for all the latest news.