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People Who Want an Independent Expert Assessment of Lucy

For many years, the Valley Zoo and City of Edmonton officials have claimed that Lucy has a respiratory condition that makes it difficult for her to breathe when stressed and that she therefore shouldn't be moved. However, other experts question whether the condition, if it exists at all (it remains undiagnosed to this day), is really a problem, while others suggest that Lucy should be moved to enhanced conditions elsewhere, conditions that would facilitate a drastic improvement to her physical fitness and mental health (as other elephants, such as Maggie from the Alaska Zoo, have experienced when moved from rudimentary zoo conditions to enhanced natural environments).

Throughout the years, a large number of people, including veterinarians, elephant scientists, sanctuary experts, celebrities and others, have urged the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton to allow an "independent" team of specialist elephant veterinarians access to Lucy so they can properly assess her health status, diagnose the "phantom" respiratory condition that the zoo's own veterinarians and their contract veterinarian have been unable to diagnose or alleviate, and to determine whether or not she is a good candidate for being moved to more appropriate accommodation elsewhere. Several benefactors have even come forward to offer the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton $100,000 in funding if they allowed an independent veterinary team, the members of which would be agreed upon by both external advocates and the Valley Zoo, access to Lucy. In every case, the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton said they were not interested. Since that time Lucy has gotten older, her health conditions have worsened and she is still alone.

Lucy is now in her mid-40s, a time when elephants held captive in zoos routinely die. If Lucy is ever going to be given a chance to live in a more natural environment in the company of other elephants, a proper medical assessment must be done as soon as possible to determine whether or not she can be moved. The fact that Lucy's age-associated ailments are chronic suggests she may not have a lot of time left. The Valley Zoo has recently said elephants live into their 50s in zoos, but those elephants are outliers and exceedingly rare, especially in Canada, so the zoo's statement is lacks credibility.

It should be noted that external Lucy advocates have always said they would abide by the findings of an independent expert veterinary team.

Following is a partial list of people who have urged the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton to allow an independent expert veterinary team access to examine Lucy.

  • Georges Laraque (former NHL hockey star)
  • William Shatner (television/movie star)
  • Bob Barker (television star)
  • Joyce Poole PhD (world renowned elephant biologist/ author)
  • Surendra Varma PhD (renowned Asian elephant biologist)
  • Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE (world renowned elephant rehabilitation specialist/ author/ conservationist)
  • Philip K. Ensley DVM (elephant veterinarian)
  • William Keith Lindsay DVM (renowned elephant biologist)
  • Henry Melvin Richardson DVM (elephant veterinarian)
  • Debi Zimmerman DVM
  • Jane Goodall (world renowned chimpanzee expert, UN Messenger of Peace)
  • Gay Bradshaw PhD (expert in elephant trauma, author)
  • Elizabeth Abbott (author)
  • Margaret Atwood (author) 
  • Ken Babstock (author)
  • Catherine Bush (author)
  • Anne Innis Dagg PhD (world renowned giraffe expert, author) 
  • Sylvia Dolson  (bear expert, author)
  • Max Foran (author)
  • Graeme Gibson (author) 
  • Celia Godkin (author) 
  • Barbara Gowdy (author) 
  • Carla Gunn (author)
  • Diane Haynes  (author)
  • Michael Helm (author)
  • Maureen Jennings (author)
  • Evelyn Kirkaldy (author)
  • Barbara Kyle (author) 
  • Sue Lebrecht (author) 
  • Barry Kent MacKay (wildlife expert, ornithological artist, author)
  • Atsuko Matsuoka (author) 
  • Susan McClelland (author) 
  • Michael Ondaatje (author)
  • Karen Patkau (author)
  • Jacquie Pearce (author) 
  • Rod Preece PhD (author) 
  • Nicholas Read (author)
  • Michael Redhill (author) 
  • Nino Ricci (author)
  • Erika Ritter (author)
  • Anne Russon (primatologist/ author)
  • John Sorenson (author)
  • Linda Spalding (author)
  • Cindy Stone (author)
  • Susan Swan (author)
  • Jane Urquhart (author)
  • Rex Weyler (co-founder Greenpeace International, author)