For Immediate Release: September 28, 2011
PETA, ZOOCHECK APPEAL LUCY'S CASE TO SUPREME COURT
Lone Elephant at Valley Zoo Continues to Suffer From Illness and Climate and Must Be Transferred to a Sanctuary, Say Experts
Edmonton, Alberta — This morning, PETA, Zoocheck Canada, and Tove Reece, president of the Edmonton-based Voice for Animals Humane Society, asked the Supreme Court of Canada to allow them to sue the city of Edmonton to transfer Lucy—the lone and ailing Asian elephant at the Valley Zoo—to a warm-weather sanctuary for rehabilitation, where she will also have the company of other elephants. The move follows the recent decision by the Court of Appeal of Alberta to refuse to reinstate the lawsuit over what the appellants believe are Lucy's grossly inadequate and illegal living conditions on the grounds that they lacked standing to sue. In her strong, 43-page dissent, Chief Justice Catherine Fraser disagreed and wrote that PETA and Zoocheck did show "a prima facie case of the City's unlawful conduct vis-à-vis Lucy." Lucy and the appellants are represented by renowned attorney Clayton Ruby.
"Every day that Lucy spends at Valley Zoo, her condition continues to deteriorate," says Jeffrey S. Kerr, general counsel to PETA. "By denying our standing to sue, the court has given Lucy a virtual death sentence, so we hope that the Supreme Court will reverse the appeals court's short-sighted decision and reinstate this case."
Lucy suffers from arthritis, obesity, chronic foot ailments, and upper-respiratory problems—all of which are further aggravated by Edmonton's frigid climate, which is ill-suited to an Asian elephant. Lucy has also been alone for more than three years, spends most of her time in a small, barren barn, and exhibits behaviour that indicates severe psychological distress. Elephant experts who have reviewed medical records obtained by the groups have stated that Lucy's health will continue to deteriorate if she is not moved to a sanctuary, where she would enjoy a suitable climate, ample space, and the companionship of other elephants.
The Valley Zoo has failed to properly diagnose and treat Lucy and continues to deny independent experts access to examine her. TV icon Bob Barker has offered $100,000 to the city of Edmonton to use as it chooses if the city will allow independent elephant experts to examine Lucy—but the city remains implacable.
The 23-page appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Jeffrey S. Kerr, Esq. (PETA Foundation) 202-540-2171; JeffK@petaf.org
David Perle 202-695-5622; DavidP@peta.org
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