Lucy’s home needs a demolition ball says Granny Greene.
Here is what Zoo enthusiasts wrote about the substandard exhibits at the Valley Zoo on ZooChat: 11• The winter quarters for the zoo’s animals are appalling, • The Valley Zoo should really abandon any notion of keeping elephants in Edmonton forever, and move on to smaller, less controversial mammals.
It appears, therefore, that the Zoo may also be in breach of Section III.B. of the Animal Care Standards within Government of Alberta Standards for Zoos in Alberta, a regulation of the Animal Welfare Act, states that: “All equipment, fixtures and vegetation must be installed in such a way that they do not present a hazard to the animals and must be maintained in good working condition.” Not just a paint job.
Lastly, we need to ask ourselves, “In this day and age, do we really need to imprison
animals in a Zoo?” Menagerie-style zoos, which all Canadian Zoos fall under, first
appeared in the late 1800’s. Wild animals were the novelty then, as only the average
person would never be able to see animals that lived in the vast untamed wilderness or on
the other side of the world, in any other way. For maximal viewing pleasure, the animals were kept in small enclosures, made of easy to clean concrete, and with sparse furnishings so as not to obstruct the spectator’s line of sight.
Now, we have National Geographic, productions like BBC’s Planet Earth, IMAX movies, YouTube, National Parks, wilderness safari’s, and virtual reality. If you look at how far we have come in the past 100 plus years, with computers, cellphones, space travel, telecommunications along
the ocean floor, skyscrapers, supersonic jets, the end to slavery, equal rights for women and for minority groups; there is nothing that has stayed the same, except our archaic, and pitiful menagerie-style zoos.
ARGUMENT NO. 4: Lucy has dedicated keepers and are the only family she has ever known, and they have essentially become her “herd, her heard.”
A bond with humans, no matter how strong, cannot be a justification for keeping an intelligent social animal isolated from her own kind, and, in an unnatural climate. No one is challenging the dedication of her keepers, or the level of care they deliver. However, it
should be noted that at 7:00pm, the end of the last keeper’s shift, Lucy is left alone in her stark surroundings. Supervisor, Dean Treichel, said that Lucy demonstrates “anticipatory behavior while she waits for her herd (keepers) to show up”. The constant companionship of other elephants offered by sanctuaries, would spare Lucy the anxiety she experiences when her “herd’ abandons her every evening, and reassembles every morning. Even a cursory review of the three elephant species’ natural history, furnishes ample evidence that the herd is as important an influence on an elephant’s life
history strategy as social nurturing is to humans (Wittemyer et al.2005). More tomorrow.