June 20th marks the 1st International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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On June 20th (that’s a week from this Saturday, folks), In Defense of Animals will be holding the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ for short).

IDA describes IDAEZ as

a global event aimed at bringing mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and ending their suffering. On Saturday, June 20th, pro-elephant advocates will turn out en masse at their local zoos, holding outreach events and demonstrations to educate the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, impoverished zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing. […]

The elephants need your help! By participating in this event, you become part of a global community of pro-elephant advocates joined together on June 20th to end the suffering of elephants in zoos. We urge you to organize or join an event at your local zoo, write letters, educate your friends and family. It’s all about taking action. United, we are a powerful force for change!

Backed by an army of public relations personnel, the zoo industry has been largely successful in convincing the general public that zoos work for the public good: breeding endangered animal species which might otherwise go extinct; fostering in children a love and appreciation for nature and its inhabitants; throwing their weight behind sundry conservation efforts so that, one day, animals need not live in captivity for their species to survive. This is a lie.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 1

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

I’ve decided to start a new feature (yet another!) on easyVegan.info. In “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs,” I’ll highlight blog posts and news items that examine the various ways in which speciesism parallels or intersects with the oppression of marginalized human groups. In a word, intersectionality.

Previously, I was linking to these stories in my weekly weekend activist posts, but since they’re easily overlooked in a sea of links, I’d rather give ’em their own home. Deconstructing the patriarchy is hefty shit, yo!

So let’s get started, posthaste:

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?, Part 1 and Part 2

Over the past few months, I’ve spent some time examining how modern animal agriculture subjects female animals to especially brutal and prolonged exploitation, turning their reproductive systems against them. Their children suffer greatly, too; the daughters of “dairy cows” are enslaved in the same conditions as their mothers, while brothers and sons, an otherwise worthless by-product of milk production, become “veal” calves; females born to “laying hens” become egg machines as well, eventually replacing their “spent” mothers, while males are simply disposed of in garbage bags and wood chippers; and so on and so forth.

In “Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?,” Stephanie turns her attention to the fate of newborn calves and late-term fetuses at the stockyard, where their mothers are faced with imminent slaughter. As she explains, some fetal calves die with – inside – their mothers, while others are harvested for use in “science.”

If you eat “meat,” drink milk, or wear leather, you’re complicit in this species-, sex- and age-based atrocity.

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Women, Girls, and the So-Called Achievement of Killing

Following up on an earlier criticism of Feministing for celebrating a woman bullfighter as a feminist hero, Stephanie laments the pseudo-feminist news coverage of Teressa Groenewald-Hagerman, a 39-year-old Kansan whose major “accomplishment” is being the “first woman in the world to shoot an elephant dead with a bow and arrow.”

As Stephanie and others have noted, Groenewald-Hagerman’s slaughter of an elephant – someone’s father, brother, son, partner, friend – is no more a feminist victory than Aileen Wuornos’s unprecedented killing spree.

Elaine at Vegan Soapbox also weighs in:

Teressa was “inspired” to kill an elephant after a male friend said “women could never draw such a heavy bow.” But archery is NOT necessarily a hunting sport. My grandmother was an archer and she did NOT kill. She shot targets, not animals.

In order to prove the male “friend” wrong, Teressa needed only to show strength and skill, not a barbaric blood-lust.

Indeed. Sex-based discrimination in athletics (or any field dominated by men, for that matter) is a pervasive problem; the solution, however, does not lie in the slaughter of even more marginalized beings.

Vegetarian Star: Dan Matthews: Get Obamas Naked, Madonna Is Middle Aged Witch

PETA’s Dan Matthews on Madonna:

I was a fan of Madonna in the 1980s but she became this middle-aged witch who thought her style should be defined by wearing fur coats and eating foie gras. We had a long argument over her glamorising bullfighting in her music videos.

While I agree that many of Madonna’s actions are reprehensible, let’s not pretend that 1a) “witch” isn’t a G-rated euphemism for “bitch”; 1b) “bitch,” when used as an insult, isn’t misogynist; and 2a) “witch” isn’t also a sex-based slur, inasmuch as one never hears a man so insulted (e.g., “You warlock!”); 2b) “witch” isn’t also ageist and lookist, inasmuch as (bad) “witches” are conceptualized as old, wrinkled, ugly, scraggly, disagreeable, hideous creatures.

Alternatives one might employ instead of “witch”: killer, butcher, murderer, social carcinogen, Madge the Bunny Slayer. Lose the -ism in favor of creativity – you get the idea.

And also: fuck you, Dan Matthews.

(More below the fold…)

"Faultlines"

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Photo via kendiala

Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about intersections: been speciesism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, colonialism, classism and (especially) sexism, and between animal liberation and other social justice movements.

While it’s become clear to me that all forms of prejudice and oppression are interrelated – and indeed, spring from the same well – what I find most vexing is how all these injustices first came about. Were nature and non-human animals subjugated first, followed by women and marginalized men, or were many of these rungs built into the social hierarchy at once? Which came first – organized religion, what with its oh-so-convenient justifications for mistreating the aforementioned “lesser” beings, or were these dogmas created after the fact, as a way of rationalizing and continuing these inequities? Did women as group resist when their brothers began to betray them en masse? Perhaps nature betrayed us as well, by “blessing” us with bodies that, on the one hand, are capable of bringing new life into this world – yet by the same token are vulnerable and ripe for exploitation? Why do men (and not a few women) seek to bully and oppress others? Why can’t we all just get along?

pattrice jones has touched upon this subject in her writings time and again. At the most basic level, she links the rise of pastoralism to that of the patriarchy. Take, for example, this exchange from an interview published in Vegan Voice:

Q. In Australia we have an appalling track record with regards to indigenous rights. How is racism shaped to some degree by animal exploitation.

A. I’m glad you asked about that, because it was my scholarly investigations into the origins of racism that led me to understand how speciesism is related various forms of oppression among humans. Basically, pastoralism (human dominion over animals) and patriarchy (male dominion over women) — which arrived on the historical scene together and cannot be separated — formed the template according to which all subsequent forms of exploitation would be patterned. It’s not an accident that people who are going to be exploited because of their religion, ethnicity, disability, or race are first “dehumanised” — the very act of subjugation is the act of forcing the target group into the category of “animal,” which means both “being without rights” and “object to be used.” You mentioned the Australian record with regard to indigenous peoples. The European conquests Australia offers a case in point concerning the use of the category “animal” to oppress a group of people. Indigenous people were, essentially, treated as just one more species of indigenous animal, to be exploited when possible and exterminated otherwise. The atrocities that were committed against indigenous peoples would be unimaginable were it not for a long history of treating living beings in exactly the same way. That history made it easy to just add indigenous people to the list of beings who may permissibly be enslaved, killed, or used without regard for their own aim and interests. As long as the category “animal” exists, it will be possible for some human animals to push other human animals over the line into it. If we are serious about ending the exploitation of people, then we have to get rid of the idea of a living being without rights, who can be exploited or killed at will. There’s more — much more — but that’s the gist of it.

In her contributions to Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2004) and Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth (2006), jones examines animal liberation in general (and direct action specifically) through a (anarcha~)feminist lens. In both pieces (“Mothers with Monkeywrenches: Feminist Imperatives and the Animal Liberation Front” and “Stomping with the Elephants: Feminist Principles for Feminist Solidarity”), she returns to the theme of intersecting oppressions, and in so doing she conjures up many of the same questions that have been dancing around in my head.*

In particular, this passage from “Stomping with the Elephants” scratches the surface of the problem – ever so slightly, as the issue is enormous – which might be the concept of “property” – ownership, of both the land, and the beings residing upon it:

(More below the fold…)

Puppy/Pachy Love

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Hat tip to my lil’ sis, who sent me a link to this video the other day.

CBS News reports on “The Animal Odd Couple”:

The so-called “odd couple” in this story is Tarra (an elephant) and Bella (a dog), both residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

I say “so-called” because interspecies friendships aren’t exactly unheard of; heck, according to the AVMA, 43,021,000 American households “own” dogs, 37,460,000 “own” cats, 4,453,000 “own” birds and 2,087,000 “own” horses. While many of these relationships are more akin to that of master/slave, these numbers still allow for quite a few cross-species friendships between human and non-human animals. Personally, I count Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee and Jayne among my bestest of friends.

Oh, but wait! In common parlance, humans aren’t considered “animals” – so interspecies friendships in which one half of the pair is human doesn’t register as an “odd” “animal” couple. Well, allow me to deconstruct further.

When 37.2% of U.S. households include at least one dog, and 32.4% include one or more cats, there’s bound to be some crossover. Interspecies friendships, in fact, aren’t as uncommon as you might think, human-animal relationships aside. Just Google “interspecies friendships” and you’ll get an idea of how rich and social the lives of non-human animals can be, especially when lived without human interference (such as isolating them from other non-human animals).

Of course, pachyderm/canine relationships are still somewhat odd, inasmuch as domesticated dogs and elephants don’t normally come into contact with one another. But you get my drift, yeah? – Namely, just because we (as in, the collective “we”) don’t take the time or effort to recognize the complexity of a species’ needs, desires and interactions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

We simply choose not to see the “humanizing” characteristics in non-human animals:

Because Dog forbid we recognize how closely animal sentience mirrors our own.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Billy’s Last Chance [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Monday, January 12th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 9, 2009 10:27 PM
Subject: Billy’s Last Chance [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT – PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

COMING SOON: Friends Of Kinship Circle Blog

LOOK FOR THE DEBUT OF OUR NEW BLOG, FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE…
Where your alerts will reach a huge web readership. We’ll keep you posted!

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FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT
1/9/09: Last Chance To Close L.A. Elephant Display & Free Billy

SOURCES / REPLY TO:

FOR QUESTIONS, CONTACT: zoos [at] idausa.org or 323-301-5730
Bettina, brosie96 [at] yahoo.com
Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants, davidkca [at] earthlink.net

BILLY’S LAST CHANCE

City Council member Tony Cardenas has presented a motion to stop the L.A. Zoo’s $42 million elephant exhibit renovation. Despite its mammoth expense to taxpayers, it still will not provide the space elephants need, and elephants will continue to suffer and die painfully and prematurely at the Zoo. Fifteen elephants have died at L.A. Zoo. More than half never lived to age 20. Elephants have a natural lifespan of 60-70 years.

We urgently need your help to close the L.A. Zoo elephant exhibit and send its lone elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary. We are so close to freeing him from his lonely existence in a miserable, barren zoo pen — please don’t let him down! This is our last chance to make a difference. There are two very important meetings next week + other actions to take:

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Billy’s Fate – Close L.A. Zoo Exhibit

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Update, 12/3/08: Kinship Circle: Free Billy: 12/3 Council Meeting + Comments Needed

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Nov 20, 2008 4:14 PM
Subject: [KC Member Alert] Billy’s Fate: Close L.A. Zoo Exhibit

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

The following information is brought to you courtesy of Kinship Circle.
Please DO NOT hit reply! Respond directly to alert sources below.

ALERT FROM KINSHIP CIRCLE SUPPORTER:
11/20/08: Billy’s Fate – Close L.A. Zoo Elephant Exhibit For Good

SOURCES / REPLY TO:
Bettina, brosie96 [at] yahoo.com
LA animalrights, laanimalrights [at] yahoogroups.com

BACKGROUND:

UPDATE ON MOTION TO CLOSE L.A. ZOO ELEPHANT EXHIBIT AND SEND BILLY TO A SANCTUARY — The City Council heard Councilmember Cardenas’ motions on November 19, 2008 at 10am. After 4 hours of deliberation, the council voted to send both issues — stopping construction of the elephant exhibit and sending Billy to a sanctuary — to the Finance Committee.

This is Billy’s last chance at a taste of freedom! The Cardenas motion represents Billy’s only chance to get out of his miserable, barren pen at the L.A. Zoo. And it’s a chance to save future elephants from suffering and dying prematurely in a $42 million exhibit that still doesn’t provide the space elephants need. This $42 million is being spent at a time when the city is looking at a budget overage of $10 million. Encourage the members to spend the city’s money in a more responsible way. Send Billy to a sanctuary and halt construction of an elephant exhibit.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Don’t Send Jenny To Mexican Display Park

Monday, June 30th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 5:00 PM
Subject: ACT/ Don’t Send Jenny To Mexican Display Park

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

6/29/08: Don’t Send Elephant Jenny To Mexican Display Park

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-29 - Don't Send Elephant Jenny To Mexican Display Park

Jenny, the 31-year-old African elephant, will move to the Africam Safari Park, a 617-acre forested wildlife park located 80-miles southeast of Mexico City, zoo officials said today. Dallas News

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Stop South African Elephant Cull

Monday, June 9th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:33 PM
Subject: ACT/ Stop South African Elephant Cull

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

6/6/08: Stop South African Elephant Cull
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Kinship Circle - 2008-06-06 - Stop South African Elephant Cull

http://www.animalrightsafrica.org/EleMyths.php

IF WE DON’T STOP THEM, THEY’LL MURDER THIS MOTHER AND HER CHILDREN…

And thousands more like them. Once again, the ivory and hunting industries have convinced the South African government to allow slaughter of elephants in the name of “culling,” a euphemism for mass murder of intelligent and social beings. The Big Lies told over and over again must be exposed…

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Dear TNT, Tell The Truth About Ringling Bros. Circus

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sat, May 17, 2008 at 4:58 PM
Subject: Dear TNT, Tell The Truth About Ringling Bros. Circus

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

5/17/08: TNT, Tell The Truth About Ringling Bros. Circus

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-05-17 - TNT, Tell The Truth About Ringling Bros. Circus 01

LEFT: A Ringling performance.

Kinship Circle - 2008-05-17 - TNT, Tell The Truth About Ringling Bros. Circus 02

RIGHT: Animal Protection Institute photo, January 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida, shows Ringling elephants chained immediately after exiting a transport train (AP Photo/API, Bradley Stookey).

(More below the fold…)

Celebrating Mothers of all stripes.

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Saluting Animal Moms on Mother’s Day

According to writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the trials of motherhood make moms the great vacationless class. Although she may have been talking about the human variety—the moms who are near and dear to us—other animals show the same tireless dedication to their children. PETA hopes that this Mother’s Day, while you are praising your family’s matriarch, you’ll also remember that some of the best moms in the world are found in the animal kingdom.

Northern Fur Seals

Human mothers tuned in to Channel Mom may find themselves responding to anybody’s child when they hear someone calling the M word, but fur seals never make this mistake. Fresh from foraging for food, moms have to find their young quickly in a sea of hundreds—or possibly thousands—of seals, so both mother and pup depend on their uncanny powers of vocal recognition to find one another. Both will call out and answer, responding selectively to one another until they are reunited.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: "Elephant In A Bubble" Isn’t Science, It’s A Sideshow!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 3:56 PM
Subject: Writing Alert: “Elephant In A Bubble” Isn’t Science, It’s A Sideshow!

Tell the Los Angeles Times: “Elephant In A Bubble” Isn’t Science, It’s A Sideshow!

On Tuesday, March 18th, the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California will feature a sensationalist stunt in which a “bubble artist” will attempt to set a record by enclosing an Asian elephant — a member of a critically endangered species — inside a giant soapy bubble. The elephant to be used in this gimmick is named Tai, and is rented out by Have Trunk Will Travel, a business that employs coercive methods of training that rely on negative reinforcement, physical punishment, and use of the bullhook.

IDA has called and written to the Discovery Science Center explaining why using an abused member of an endangered species in a publicity gimmick is wrong, but they chose to ignore us. Then an essay essentially agreeing with our position appeared on the Opinion page of the Los Angeles Times (see below or read online).

Please send a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times at letters [at] latimes.com. Letters should be brief (300 words at most) and written in your own words. Do not send attachments, and remember to include your full name, address, and phone number (for verification purposes — street names and phone numbers will not be published). For complete writing guidelines, call (800) LATIMES, Ext. 74511. If your letter is published, let us know.

Here are some talking points that you can use in your letter:

(More below the fold…)

IDA: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Why, oh why, do I get the feeling that this post will see a disproportionate amount of traffic?*

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Dec 7, 2007 6:48 PM
Subject: Urgent: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

Urgent Action Alert: Help elephants by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Deadline is this Monday, December 10!

The Woodland Park Zoo has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for an extension of its permit to import semen from a male Asian elephant named Rex at African Lion Safari in Canada for the purpose of artificially inseminating its female elephant, Chai. The Zoo is proceeding with the artificial insemination (AI) attempts despite the known risk that any baby born will contract the deadly elephant herpes virus, which in June claimed the life of Chai’s six-year old daughter Hansa.

The elephant herpesvirus causes death by massive internal hemorrhage and has claimed the lives of 10 elephants since 2000.

In addition to the loss of her daughter, Chai has endured four failed artificial insemination attempts to date. The procedure is highly invasive; elephants are restrained for several hours at a time while veterinarians pass an endoscope through their entire reproductive tract into the uterus.

In their zeal to produce a baby elephant (which always increases zoo attendance), Woodland Park Zoo officials are willing to subject any offspring produced to the significant risks of contracting this deadly virus, and to force the mother, Chai, to endure the anguish of watching another baby die a terrible death.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Elephant breeding under fire

Friday, December 7th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Dec 5, 2007 2:57 PM
Subject: Writing Alert: Elephant breeding under fire

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article about a report IDA issued on the deadly elephant herpes virus. Please write a letter to the editor supporting IDA’s call for an end to breeding of Asian elephants at affected zoos, as well as for severe restrictions on the transfer of elephants between facilities. Send letters to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer at editpage [at] .seattlepi.com.

Read “Elephant breeding under fire” online.

Elephant breeding under fire

Risk to baby too high, activists tell zoo leaders

Last updated December 4, 2007
By KATHY MULADY
P-I REPORTER

Animal rights activists called Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant breeding program “reckless” and “irresponsible,” and demanded Tuesday that zoo leaders abandon plans to artificially inseminate an elephant next month.

The group wants to stop the insemination of Chai until a treatment or cure is found for herpes, the virus that killed the elephant’s 6-year-old offspring, Hansa, in June.

“It is just common sense. You have a contaminated facility. There is a very, very good chance you will have another death,” Catherine Doyle from In Defense of Animals told zoo board members.

“It is unconscionable for the zoo to risk subjecting another young elephant to this fatal disease and putting Chai through the anguish of watching another baby die a terrible death.”

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Thinking big when it comes to elephants

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 14, 2007 8:40 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Thinking big when it comes to elephants

The Oregonian published an opinion piece about Oregon Zoo’s plans to expand its elephant exhibit. Please write a letter to the editor on the suffering elephants endure in zoos. Send letters to the Oregonian at letters [at] news.oregonian.com.

Read “Thinking big when it comes to elephants” online.

Thinking big when it comes to elephants

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three decades ago, the Oregon Zoo was considered a world leader on captive Asian elephants. Today, even those representing the zoo admit that’s no longer the case. Despite evolving scientific knowledge about elephants and their complex needs, the Oregon Zoo, like most urban zoos, is living in the past. As a result, these endangered animals are needlessly suffering.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for lack of trying. A behind-the-scenes tour leaves no doubt that those who look after Portland’s most popular zoo residents are doing what they can within the facility’s space limitations. But for years, the zoo has kept six or more elephants confined to pens the size of an average suburban backyard. That might be fine for the family dog, but we now know it’s totally inadequate for earth’s largest land mammal, which can weigh as much as 10,000 pounds and which has evolved to walk long distances each day.

Restricted space and unnatural conditions are causing the elephants to suffer and die prematurely from chronically diseased feet and crippling arthritis. Those challenges and the associated expense have led 16 major zoos to close or phase out their elephant exhibits, including zoos in Detroit, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York.

(More below the fold…)

LCA: Elephant Dies at San Antonio Zoo-Urge Closure of Elephant Exhibit! 11/12

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Last Chance for Animals – campaigns [at] lcanimal.org
Date: Nov 12, 2007 10:01 PM
Subject: Elephant Dies at San Antonio Zoo-Urge Closure of Elephant Exhibit! 11/12

As Maggie explores her new life in Sanctuary, Alport dies after a lifetime in Captivity!

Animal activists across the country are celebrating the relocation of Maggie from the Alaska Zoo to PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in California. Unfortunately, while life for Maggie has dramatically improved, hundreds of elephants across the country are still suffering in captivity.

Alport, a lifelong captive of the San Antonio Zoo, died early this month. She lived at the zoo since she was donated only four years after her birth in Kenya in 1958. Although the cause of Alport’s death is not immediately known, a veterinarian last week diagnosed her with a painful orthopedic tear.

Alport was noticeably uncomfortable last Wednesday, Oct 31st, and was struggling to walk and stand on Thursday morning, she finally collapsed and was unable to get up on her own on Friday, Nov 1st, at 5:30 A.M.

Alport’s death leaves just one elephant at the San Antonio Zoo, a 47 year old elephant named Lucky.

Since 2000, 56 elephants have died at A.Z.A. accredited institutions, half of them dying before the age of 40. Elephants in the wild live up to 70 years of age. Elephants are suffering in captivity – the proof is before our eyes – we must speak and act on their behalf.

Please take a minute and write to the San Antonio Zoo, encourage them to send Lucky to sanctuary and (most importantly) to close their elephant exhibit permanently. Sample text is below, contact information is at box to left.

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch last minute tip: The Ivory Wars on 60 Minutes, 11/4/07

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Nov 4, 2007 4:03 PM
Subject: DawnWatch last minute tip: The Ivory Wars on 60 Minutes, 11/4/07

On CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday, November 4:

Ivory War
Correspondent Scott Pelley goes to Africa to see firsthand the endangered elephant herds and confront the careless poachers who slaughter them for their ivory tusks.

You can go to http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml and hit Watch video under the “Ivory Wars” heading for a 30 second preview.

If you miss the show, or if you are not in the US, you should be able to watch it this week on that site.

Positive feedback for animal friendly coverage encourages more of it, so please be sure to thank 60 Minutes for covering this issue. The show takes feedback at: 60m [at] cbsnews.com

I send thanks to Amy Mayers for making sure we knew about the upcoming segment.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

To discontinue DawnWatch alerts go to http://www.DawnWatch.com/nothanks.php

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IDA: Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 2, 2007 11:40 AM
Subject: Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary

Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary
U.S. Air Force pilots successfully complete Operation Maggie Migration

After 25 years, Maggie has finally made the move from a tiny enclosure at the Alaska Zoo to her new home at the Performing Animal Welfare Society elephant sanctuary in Northern California. This is a great day not only for Maggie, but for IDA and everyone else who has worked to secure her freedom. We offer our sincerest thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped make this victory possible.

This historic trip included a five-hour flight in a temperature-controlled crate aboard a United States Air Force C-17 cargo plane from Alaska to Travis Air Force Base, followed by an 85-mile drive in a flatbed truck to PAWS. Maggie arrived safely on schedule at the sanctuary at 6:30 this morning.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 1, 2007 11:20 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette printed an opinion piece about the Pittsburgh Zoo’s new elephant breeding facility. Please write a letter to the editor thanking them for publishing the piece and addressing the zoo conservation myth. Send letters to letters [at] post-gazette.com.

Read “Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them” online.

Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

Zoos like those in Pittsburgh should help preserve the animals’ native habitat instead

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
By Marianne Bessey

During this month’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Pittsburgh zoo’s proposed elephant breeding facility in Somerset Country, lots of lip service was paid to “conservation.” It is without question that elephants, endangered in Asia and threatened in Africa, desperately need help. But will spending millions of dollars on breeding a handful of elephants actually help elephants — or just the zoo’s bottom line?

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IDA Writing Alert: Elephants suffer in zoos

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Oct 30, 2007 10:46 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Elephants suffer in zoos

The Birmingham News published an opinion piece about Birmingham Zoo’s plans for a new elephant exhibit. Please write a letter to the editor on the suffering elephants endure in zoos urging the zoo to scrap any such plans. Send letters to the Birmingham News at epage [at] bhamnews.com.

Read “Elephants suffer in zoos” online.

Elephants suffer in zoos

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Birmingham Zoo’s plan to create a new, $15 million exhibit to house six to eight male elephants ignores the elephant in the room: the fact that landlocked urban zoos cannot provide Earth’s largest land mammals with the space and natural conditions they need to thrive.

The zoo’s proposed 14-acre Trails of Africa exhibit may sound good on paper, but even if elephants were allowed to roam the entire acreage (an unlikely prospect given the inability of zoos to house male elephants together due to aggression issues and the space that will be taken up by indoor housing and visitor amenities), it would still be inadequate for six to eight pachyderms.

Elephants evolved to walk tens of miles daily. Their feet were meant to dig, climb, swim, run and even stand, but all on natural dirt, sand, grass, forest and savanna floor, which maintain foot and joint health.

Zoo conditions prevent elephants from exercising, forcing them to stand, virtually in one place, for decades on unyielding substrates like concrete and compacted earth. These conditions wreak havoc on elephants’ joints and feet. More than 60 percent of all elephants in zoos suffer from foot disease, and nearly half have arthritis. These painful conditions are the leading cause of suffering and premature death of elephants in zoos.

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LCA: 10/29 Elephant Update! Alaska Zoo Ele to Sanctuary-L.A. Zoo Faces Lawsuit!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Last Chance for Animals – campaigns [at] lcanimal.org
Date: Oct 29, 2007 7:46 PM
Subject: 10/29 Elephant Update! Alaska Zoo Ele to Sanctuary-L.A. Zoo Faces Lawsuit!

Maggie, Alaska Zoo Elephant, to Sanctuary! Zoo to Close Elephant Exhibit!

Judge Refuses to Dismiss L.A. Zoo Elephant Abuse Case!

Great News! Maggie, the lone elephant in the Alaska Zoo, will move to PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in Northern California!

EVEN GREATER NEWS! THE ALASKA ZOO IS PERMANENTLY CLOSING THEIR ELEPHANT EXHIBIT!

On November 1st, Maggie will be flying from Alaska to California, via an Air Force cargo craft. Last month, the Alaska Zoo Board of Directors decided that it was in the best interest to her health and well-being to be with other elephants in a milder climate. This announcement came after years of controversy over Maggie’s health, culminating this May after Maggie had to be hoisted to her feet twice, following an illness.

Thanks to all your phone calls, emails and faxes, Maggie is free from captivity, but most importantly, thank you for helping to permanently close down the Alaska Zoo elephant exhibit. Countless other elephants will be saved from the horrors of captivity. The Alaska Zoo is now the 12th Zoo in recent years to permanently close down or phase out their elephant exhibit.

Maggie is also the third elephant moved to sanctuary this year. Dulary from the Philadelphia Zoo and Ruby from the Los Angeles Zoo were also moved to sanctuary this year. The Philadelphia Zoo made the decision to permanently close down their elephant exhibit, while the Los Angeles Zoo is still moving forward, unfortuntately, with a new $39 million dollar exhibit.

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