In Defense of Animals is calling for animal welfare organizations around the world to participate in the upcoming annual “International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ)”:
“On Saturday, June 11th, pro-elephant advocates will turn out en masse at their local zoos, holding outreach events and demonstrations to educate the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, impoverished zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.”
The event has had several celebrity supporters including Lily Tomlin, Steve Guttenberg, Jorja Fox, Elaine Hendrix, and Dick Donner. For 2011, so far there are 13 events scheduled in the U.S., as well as events in Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Elephants are social animals that thrive when in contact with other elephants. But often, elephants in zoos are kept in isolation, in small enclosures. They are also often subjected to unsuitable climates, chaining and physical control and discipline. Elephants have been suffering in zoos globally for years. For example, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England conducted research on how elephants in zoos compare to those in the wild. They concluded that “zoo elephants generally experience poor welfare stemming from stress and/or poor physical health.” Another example can be seen by the video link to the left, which shows a clip of an elephant being tortured at a zoo in Vienna.
In Defense of Animals has put together a list of the top 10 reasons to fight for elephants in zoos:
- Elephants are suffering and dying prematurely in zoos. It is wrong and it must stop!
- The truth is on the side of the elephants. The facts are on the side of the elephants. Science is on the side of the elephants.
- Elephants are highly intelligent, sensitive and self-aware beings who deserve to live in dignity and freedom. For those already in captivity, we will fight to give them lives much closer to what nature intended. For those living in the wild, we will fight to give them greater protections and ensure their continued existence on this earth.
- The zoo industry has built its case for elephant captivity on a very shaky foundation based on denial, distortions and the dismissal of scientific evidence. Ultimately, it will fall.
- Public education is the key to victory for the elephants. The more people learn about elephants and how they suffer in zoos, the less they will tolerate seeing them on display, standing pathetically idle in small, impoverished zoo yards.
- We are supported by world-recognized authorities in elephant field biology, Asian and African elephant conservation, and zoo management, design, and animal care who are speaking out for the elephants.
- More and more scientific studies are documenting the devastating effects of zoo conditions on elephants – the tipping point on this issue is near!
- Elected officials in our city and state governments are beginning to listen and take action on behalf of the elephants. There is great hope that civic leaders will eventually put elephant welfare over politics.
- We are joined by a constellation of caring individuals from all walks of life – from Hollywood actors and celebrities to caring citizens and compassionate students.
- Pro-elephant advocates are some of the most tenacious, caring and committed people around! We will not give up until there is justice for all elephants.
In 2009, The Central Zoo Authority in India confirmed to the BBC that zoos and circuses in the country would no longer be allowed to keep elephants. It is only through pressure from concerned animal welfare advocates that elephants will be banned from zoos everywhere.
People around the world can stand up for elephants in zoos by organizing or joining an event at your local zoo, writing letters, and educating your friends and family. To find an event in your area, click here. If there is not a currently scheduled event at your local zoo and you are planning to set one up yourself, you can register it at this website to be added to the event listing. You can also find more information about elephants in zoos at the In Defense of Animals website.
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Source: In Defense of Animals