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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 6, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Proper treatment of Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants

Panel is trivializing damage

Chai getting up close as the cameras snap away in the elephant enviroment at the Woodland Park Zoo. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

Chai getting up close as the cameras snap away in the elephant enviroment at the Woodland Park Zoo. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

The report recently issued by the Woodland Park Zoo elephant task force’s “expert panel” was predictably disappointing. [“Experts suggest changes for zoo’s elephants,” NW Thursday, Aug. 29.]

By opting to use innocuous terms such as “reduced joint mobility” and “occasional foot cracks,” instead of the more accurate “captivity-related arthritis” and “chronic foot infections” (both causes of premature death in zoo elephants), the panel has obviously chosen to trivialize and whitewash the shocking physical deterioration of the zoo’s three surviving elephants.

The Seattle City Council made a terrible mistake by allowing the zoo to control this task force. The result is a rubber-stamp committee of mostly current and former zoo board members and industry insiders, blindly loyal to the zoo and utterly disinterested in examining the profound damage that decades of inhumane confinement have had on the zoo’s elephants.

The Seattle City Council should remedy its mistake by forming a truly independent and objective task force.

Nancy Farnam, Edmonds

Comments | More in animals, Seattle, Woodland Park Zoo | Topics: elephants, task force, woodland park zoo

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