September 6, 2013 at 6:33 PM
Panel is trivializing damage
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
April 11, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Elephants not harmed mentally or physically
Unfortunately, David Hancocks expresses his concern for elephants in zoos by willfully misrepresenting conditions at Woodland Park Zoo [“Elephants should be the priority at Woodland Park Zoo,” Opinion, April 9].He quoted “daily foot care” as if that were all the care the elephants receive. Their daily care includes baths, inspections, training, enrichment objects, varied feeding opportunities, interactions with each other and keepers, as well as time spent indoors or outdoors. The elephants receive quality care and are not harmed physically nor mentally.
Despite increasing incidents of wild elephants killed for their ivory, Hancocks expresses no concern for them. After all. the zoo’s elephants serve admirably as ambassadors for their wild kin.
Judy Mukai, Seattle
April 30, 2009 at 5:00 PM
Bravo for speaking out
I am very thankful to Lily Tomlin for advocating for our Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) elephants to improve their present, unhealthy lives ["Cause for star: elephants," NW Tuesday, April 28].
WPZ claims it is giving its three elephants, Watoto, Bamboo and Chai, the best of care and I am sure that they try, but it is not enough. The zoo cannot give them what they don’t have and what these pachyderms need most, which is lots of space. The way they live now is as if we were forced to live in a bathtub for the rest of our lives.
Keeping them here when they could go for free to the 2,700-acre Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is selfishly wrong. It is time to do the right thing and let them go!
It is great when celebrities lend their names to causes. It attracts more attention from the media and, consequently, the public. Therefore, bravo again to Tomlin for speaking out for those who can’t: the elephants at WPZ.
– Claudine Erlandson, Shoreline
February 11, 2009 at 5:00 PM
A confusing message in an exploitative industry
It seemed odd to read about the Woodland Park Zoo turning its animals into “artists” ["Zoo-animal art: from pachyderm exhibit to gallery exhibit," Local News, Feb. 6].
For years, the zoo has accused animal advocates of inappropriately viewing animals as being like humans or “anthropomorphizing” them. And yet, here is the zoo making money off turning animals into “artists,” who “experiment with texture.”
Elephants are forcibly pressed into the “art industry” in Asia, where they are brutally beaten as part of their “training” until they produce paintings that can be sold for thousands of dollars. Recently, a baby elephant was removed from the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary in northern Thailand, to be turned into one of these “artists.”
At best, Woodland Park Zoo’s animal-artist program sends a confusing message to the public in the face of this brutal and exploitative industry.
None of the proceeds from this “art exhibit” will improve the quality of life for any of the zoo animals, but will, instead, fund a zookeeper conference.
— Nancy Farnam, Edmonds
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