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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 16, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Zoo’s plan won’t cut it for elephants; not an extreme view

Chai and Watato in the Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant exhibit. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Zoo’s plan won’t cut it for elephants

The guest column from two Woodland Park Zoo board members, “Woodland Park Zoo takes good care of its elephants,” [Opinion, May 13] shows how out of touch the Zoo is with science and Seattleites’ values. The zoo’s labeling of those calling for the end of confining elephants in zoos as “extremists” is laughable.

Are the Scientific American, The Seattle Times and 62 percent of Seattleites extremists?

The Scientific American stated in an editorial: “Confined elephants often spend their time standing around in cramped quarters. … These tortuous conditions inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

The Seattle Times has issued five editorials calling for the retirement of the elephants to sanctuary.

The Zoo just doesn’t get it: Its 5-year plan will cram four to five elephants on a 1-acre area or into barn cages that define “tortuous conditions.” The meager $1.5 million to $3 million in new spending will not improve the elephants’ quality of life — L.A. and San Diego zoos’ commitment to their elephants cost $42 million.

Our zoo is stuck in 19th-century thinking. Meanwhile Bamboo paces in circles, Chai bobs her head, and Watoto sways, waiting to heal in a sanctuary.

Alyne Fortgang, Seattle

Not an extremist for opposition to elephant program

One can civilly differ on whether to keep or end the elephant program at the Woodland Park Zoo. But for the highest ranking members of the zoo’s Board of Directors to label those advocating its end as “extremists” is outrageous and, frankly, a desperate attempt to stifle growing opposition to the inhumane aspects of elephant captivity.

Truth be told, I had already decided not to go to the zoo again because of my strong opposition to its elephant program. And now given that zoo management has declared me an extremist, it is clear that I am not welcome.

Beverly Marcus, Seattle

Comments | More in animals | Topics: Alyne Fortgang, Beverly Marcus, elephants

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