Today (26th July), an item was posted on the US Psychology Today web-site titled ‘Elephants in L.A. Zoo aren’t happy or content, says judge’, written by Professor Marc Bekoff.
‘… It’s becoming clearer and clearer that zoos, including aquariums, are not good homes for animals. SeaWorld has all sorts of problems, and now we’ve just learned that the Los Angeles Zoo also isn’t all it claims to be. As Michael Mountain reports in his essay in Earth in Transition, Los Angeles judge John A. Segal concluded “All is not well at the Elephants of Asia exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo.”
“The elephants are not healthy, happy, and thriving.”
This is a landmark decision that should be widely applauded and publicized. More and more, as with the compelling case against SeaWorld, it’s not only professed animal advocates who are sick and tired of the horrific ways in which animals are treated when held in captivity for entertainment. Judge Segal further wrote, “Contrary to what the zoo’s representatives may have told the Los Angeles City Council in order to get construction of the $42 million exhibit approved and funded, the elephants are not healthy, happy, and thriving.”
As Michael Mountain goes on to note, this pricey and inadequate exhibit has nothing to do with the Asian elephants who will live there: Billy, Tina, and Jewel; but everything to do with entertainment, the results of which won’t do anything for the elephants who are held captive in conditions that don’t even remotely resemble the way in which these magnificent animals live in the wild. For example, the elephants get shocked if they go near the trees or grass in their natural-looking cage. And there also is no benefit at all for their wild relatives.
The conditions in which the elephants are forced to live and the claims of the zoo about how well they are doing were very dismaying to the judge, as they should be to everyone who reads about this total waste of money. Billy was also trained to stand on his back legs to entertain visitors.
So, just as for the unfortunate animals at SeaWorld and other similar places, entertainment is the name of the game as they’re trained to perform stupid and unnatural tricks that are utterly disrespectful of who these amazing beings truly are.
A great beginning for the animals.
While the judge didn’t tell the zoo to get rid of the exhibit and send the elephants to a sanctuary where they could live out their lives in dignity, it’s clear this incredible decision puts the onus on zoos to come clean about how they actually treat their residents and what they really do for them and their wild relatives. Of course, spokespersons for the zoo disagreed with the judge’s decision, but it’s clear that cruelty and misleading claims about what zoos do for animals can’t stand the spotlight, and indeed they should never ever be ignored.
Let’s allow the animals to live out their lives with dignity.
I always say we must continue to be optimistic that as time passes more and more people, including those who make decisions that really make a difference, will see zoos for what they really are, and that the animals who are held in these facilities will someday be able to live out their lives absent abuse.
Thank you to all who worked on this case …’
Read the item and add your comment online at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201207/elephants-in-la-zoo-arent-happy-or-content-says-judge