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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 lacking in 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
  • Gay Bradshaw PhD (expert in elephant trauma/ author Elephants on the Edge)
  • Elizabeth Abbott (author Sugar: A Bittersweet History, A History of Mistresses, A History of Celibacy)
  • Margaret Atwood (author The Edible Woman, Surfacing, Lady Oracle, Life Before Man, Bodily Harm, The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake
  • Ken Babstock (author Mean, Days Into Flatspin, Airstream Land Yacht)
  • Catherine Bush (author Claire's Head, The Rules of Engagement, Minus Time)
  • Anne Innis Dagg PhD (author The Social Behavior of Older Animals, Pursuing Giraffe: A 1950s Adventure, The Camel: Its Evolution, Ecology, Behavior, and Relationship to Man, The Giraffe: Its Biology, Behavior, and Ecology, Camel quest: Summer research on the Saharan camel, Canadian Wildlife and Man, The Giraffe, Wildlife management in Europe) 
  • Sylvia Dolson  (author Bear-ology: Fascinating Bear Facts, Tales & Trivia)
  • Max Foran (author The Madonna List, The Chalk and the Easel: The Life and Work of Stanford Perrott, Trails and Trials: Markets and Land Use in the Canadian Cattle Industry)
  • Graeme Gibson (author Bedside Book of Birds, Perpetual Motion, Communion: A Novel, Eleven Canadian, Novelists, Five Legs, For a Common Cause: Case Studies in Communities and Environmental Change, Gentleman Death
  • Celia Godkin (author Hurricane!, Fire! The Renewal of a Forest, Wolf Island, When the Giant Stirred, Flying Lessons
  • Barbara Gowdy (author Falling Angels, We So Seldom Look On Love, Mister Sandman, The White Bone, The Romantic, Helpless
  • Carla Gunn (author Amphibian)
  • Diane Haynes  (author Gaia Wild, Crow Medicine, Flight or Fight)
  • Michael Helm (author The Projectionist, In The Place Of Last Things)
  • Maureen Jennings (author Except the Dying, Under the Dragon's Tail, Poor Tom is Cold, Let Loose the Dogs, Night's Child, Vices of My Blood, A Journeyman to Grief, Does Your Mother Know?, The K Handshape, The Map of Your Mind: Journeys Into Creative Expression)
  • Evelyn Kirkaldy (author Bear Smart Kids)
  • Barbara Kyle (author A Dangerous Devotion, The Queen's Lady, The King's Daughter) 
  • Sue Lebrecht (author Mountain Bike Here, I Hate Winter) 
  • Barry Kent MacKay (ornithological artist/author Bird Sounds: How and Why Birds Sing, Call, Chatter and Screech, The Bird Watcher's Companion, Wrens, Dippers,
    and Thrashers: A Guide to the Wrens, Dippers, and Thrashers of the World, A Field Guide to the Birds of the Galapagos, Eighty more land birds to know
  • Atsuko Matsuoka (author Ghosts and Shadows: Construction of Identity and Community in an African Diaspora
  • Susan McClelland (author Bite of the Mango
  • Michael Ondaatje (author In the Skin of a Lion, The English Patient, Anil's Ghost, Divisadero 
  • Karen Patkau (author Creatures Yesterday and Today, Creatures Great and Small In the Sea, Ringtail)
  • Jacquie Pearce (author Discovering Emily, Dog House Blues, The Truth About Rats (and Dogs), Weeds) 
  • Rod Preece PhD (author Animal Welfare and Human Values, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, And Evolution: The Historical Status Of Animals
  • Nicholas Read (author The Salmon Bears, Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest, The Sea Wolves, Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest, Saving Emily, One in a Million
  • Michael Redhill (author Martin Sloane, Fidelity, Consolation, Heretics, Building Jerusalem, Goodness) 
  • Nino Ricci (author Where She Has Gone, Testament, In a Glass House, Lives of the Saints)
  • Erika Ritter (author The Dog By The Cradle, The Serpent Beneath, Automatic Pilot, The Passing Scene, Urban Scrawl, Murder at McQueen, Ritter in Residence, The Hidden Life of Humans, The Great Big Book of Guys)
  • Anne Russon PhD (primatologist/ author The Evolution of Thought: Evolution of Great Ape Intelligence, Orangutans: Wizards of the Rainforest, Reaching into Thought: The Minds of the Great Apes)
  • John Sorenson PhD (author Animal Rights, Ape, Ghosts and Shadows: Construction of Identity and Community in an African Diaspora, Culture of Prejudice: Arguments in Critical Social Science, The Orange Blossoms: 50 Years of Growth in Orange County, Disaster and Development in the Horn of Africa, African Refugees: Development Aid and Repatriation, Imagining Ethiopia: Struggles for History and Identity in the Horn of Africa)
  • Linda Spalding (author Daughters of Captain Cook, The Paper Wife, Riska, A Dark Place in the Jungle: Following Leakey's Last Angel into Borneo, The Brick Reader, Lost Classics, Who Named The Knife)
  • Cindy Stone (author The Incidental Guru, Lessons in Healing from a Dog)
  • Susan Swan (author The Biggest Modern Woman in the World, The Last of the Golden Girls, The Wives of Bath, What Casanova Told Me)
  • Jane Urquhart (author The Stonecarvers, I'm Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace, False Shuffles, The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan, The Whirlpool, Changing Heaven, Away, The Underpainter, Storm Glass)
  • Rex Weyler (co-founder Greenpeace International/ author The Jesus Sayings: A Quest for His Authentic Message, Greenpeace: The Inside Story, The Story of Harmony, Song of the Whale, Chop Wood, Carry Water: Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life, Blood of the Land, To Save a Whale)