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Lucy Update June 24, 2019

posted 28 Jun 2019, 19:59 by Rob Laidlaw
Zoocheck and Voice 4 Animals have been engaged in a campaign, including several legal actions, to have Lucy moved to a more suitable, healthy, environment since 2006. However, for more than 13 years, the Edmonton Valley Zoo engaged in one stall tactic after another claiming they were not opposed to moving her but saying it was not possible because she was too sick to be moved. Throughout those years the zoo refused to allow a truly independent assessment of her health by a qualified team of specialist veterinarians, even when it was offered to them at no cost. The groups repeatedly warned the zoo and Edmonton City Council that stalling would only allow her condition to worsen and some day it would be too late to move Lucy. We fear that day has now come.

We recently obtained copies of Lucy’s medical records via Freedom of Information from the past year and had them reviewed by a globally respected, independent veterinarian with extensive elephant experience. The records indicate that Lucy’s health has gotten significantly worse and indicates she is likely nearing the end of her sad, lonely life.

The zoo’s medical records for Lucy reveal that she is now, for all intents and purposes, being kept alive on medication the way a palliative care patient is treated. This likely means that it could be too late to move her safely. Since we filed our last legal action Lucy has been put on a daily dose of opioids to manage her pain caused by foot and joint problems which developed from living in Edmonton’s cold climate on hard substrates for most of her life. She is also now suffering from painful stomach issues which are commonly associated with taking the opiod drugs. However, without the opiods, it is unlikely that Lucy would be able to stand up on her own after she lays down and would die as a result. This means that the zoo is medicating her with a cocktail of drugs to keep her alive.

When Zoocheck and Voice 4 Animals first began advocating for Lucy over a decade ago, the groups warned the city council that the conditions at the zoo had caused her health issues and would only worsen over time, but they ignored the warnings and her health gradually deteriorated.

We still support and are pursuing a full assessment of Lucy. Even if a team of independent experts confirms that it is now too late to safely move her there are other things the zoo may be able to do to improve her life, the least of which would be to come into compliance with the zoo standards they continue to violate. We are truly broken-hearted by this news as we know many of you are too. We felt it was unfair to everyone to not share the truth about her severely declining health. Even still, we will never give up trying to help her no matter what happens.

We also need to ensure that this never happens again in Canada.Therefore, Zoocheck and Voice 4 Animals intend to move forward with their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada because the decision not to give legal standing to the two animal groups in the previous cases regarding Lucy is a dangerous precedent that potentially could impact every animal, both wild and domesticated, across the country. We hope to have more news by the end of the summer.

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