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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 19, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Zoo elephants: City Council needs to up the pressure on the zoo

You won’t hear the City Council or mayor admit it, but the fact is this: The City of Seattle has authority to compel the Woodland Park Zoo to transfer its two surviving elephants, Bamboo and Chai, to a sanctuary and permanently close its live elephant exhibit [“Learn from the death of zoo elephant Watoto, move remaining elephants,” Opinion, Oct. 10].

This authority is spelled out in an operating agreement that the city and the Woodland Park Zoological Society signed in 2001. A key provision of the agreement requires the zoo to strictly adhere to any city regulations governing the acquisition, sale or disposition of zoo animals.

As we have observed, the zoo administration continues to be defiant. In the face of the evidence and public pressure, it refuses to close its elephant exhibit in the interest of providing a more humane life for Bamboo and Chai.

At the same time we see city officials who have been exceedingly passive on this issue. What they should be doing is pushing forward and passing an ordinance that does two things: provides for the orderly but expeditious transfer of the zoo elephants to a sanctuary approved by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and thereafter prohibits the housing of elephants within city limits.

Rick Hall, president of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation, Tacoma

Comments | More in animals | Topics: elephants, Rick Hall, Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation

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