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Groups prepare take legal action against City of Edmonton (October 20, 2009)

posted 26 Aug 2010, 10:48 by Bhavithra Aloysious   [ updated 26 Aug 2010, 10:53 ]
Groups Hire Clayton Ruby to Take On the Zoo in Fight to Save Lonely, Ailing Elephant Lucy

Edmonton, Alberta — The ongoing battle to give Lucy the elephant the protections she deserves—and that PETA and Zoocheck believe she is entitled to under the law—just heated up. That's because PETA and Zoocheck Canada have retained nationally renowned civil- and animal-rights attorney Clayton Ruby to opine on the legal obligation of the City of Edmonton to relieve Lucy's suffering—and if necessary, to take legal action against the city in an effort to apply Alberta's Animal Protection Act (APA) and force the Edmonton Valley Zoo to better care for Lucy. Lucy has lived alone at the zoo for the past two years and suffers from upper respiratory problems, arthritis, obesity, and chronic foot ailments—the leading cause of death among captive elephants. She also exhibits behaviour that indicates severe psychological distress.

"In what appears to be a clear violation of Alberta law, the Edmonton Valley Zoo has not taken the required steps to relieve Lucy's distress and suffering," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "The zoo has proved repeatedly that it is either unwilling or unable to care for Lucy. The only way to ensure that Lucy's suffering doesn't continue—and that her conditions don't eventually kill her—is to transfer her to a sanctuary."

In a letter sent this morning, PETA and Zoocheck informed Mayor Mandel and the City Councillors that the APA states, "No person shall cause or permit an animal of which the person is the owner or the person in charge to be or to continue to be in distress." The letter also pointed out that the Government of Alberta Standards for Zoos in Alberta states, "All animals must be maintained in numbers sufficient to meet their social and behavioural needs." In the letter, PETA and Zoocheck asserted that they intend to seek legal means, if necessary, to ensure the city is in compliance with these provisions.

Lucy spends most of her life alone in a small, enclosed barn. At a sanctuary, she would enjoy the company of other elephants and the freedom to roam over acres of land. PETA and Zoocheck want the zoo's elephant exhibit permanently closed because Edmonton's climate is inappropriate for elephants and the zoo cannot meet the biological, behavioural, and social needs of these intelligent and gregarious giants. Since 1991, 14 North American zoos have closed their elephant exhibits or announced plans to phase them out, citing their inability to cater to this complex species.

For more information, including PETA's and Zoocheck's letter to Mayor Mandel and the City Councillors, Mr. Ruby's letter of intent, and his draft application, see the attachments below, or contact:

Lisa Wathne                       

206-367-0228 (PETA)

Julie Woodyer         

416-451-5976 (Zoocheck Canada)

Bhavithra Aloysious,
26 Aug 2010, 10:52
Bhavithra Aloysious,
26 Aug 2010, 10:52