We sent City Council members, the Mayor, the City Manager, the Zoo Board and the Zoo CEO an email on September 3, 2013 outlining our intention to file complaints with various government agencies, on both the issue of tuberculosis as a risk to the Toronto Zoo elephants at council’s destination of choice and regarding the inhumane road transport plan. Of course we did not receive a single reply.
Here are some excerpts:
The proposed transport plan by air or by truck can be argued as such:
Duration of Transport
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies does not recommend transportation longer than 52 hours for farm animals so the 4 1/2 day land transport plan mentioned by PAWS’ legal counsel (evidenced in City of Toronto FOIA) is in direct contravention of what is cited in the Federal Health of Animals Act. Exceeding the duration of recommended transport times by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies qualifies as putting an animal in “distress
Which is where CEO John Tracogna and City Councillors are in contravention. This is where their liability comes in. (Through the Ontario Animal Welfare Act 11.2)
*the proposed 50hrs by Zoocheck is to avoid scrutiny under this 52 hour recommendation”
Air Transport in Original Proposal vs. Road Transport in New Proposal
City Council agreed to Air Transport which is a different proposition from Road Transport. Hence, the manner in which the animals are being transported currently is an issue; animal welfare concerns are very different for each mode of transport and City Council should reconvene to discuss this issue, to see if they are in contravention of Animal Welfare Laws or recommendations on what would constitute humane transport. There should be public deputations and experts allowed for both sides of this issue, not just videotaped deputations and reports from PAWS and Zoocheck’s own paid veterinary and professional advocates.
Given the duration of the proposed transfer move (4.5 days) or even 50+hrs, we cannot see how it is feasible. If the elephants are sedated, that constitutes a serious risk to their welfare and animal welfare laws and CITES rule that they cannot be sedated. However a DVM can attest to the fact that sedation may be necessary if the transportation is of the suggested duration and therefore apply for this variance in the law. If this is done it can be challenged under the law as inhumane and putting an animal at risk and under duress. The key to this argument is that the duration of the move (identified by the PAWS lawyers in their e-mail FOIA) would constitute inhumane transport and could lead to severe distress. This is being supported currently by multiple animal welfare and elephant experts.
The references, of course, would be:
Correspondence between PAWS lawyers and Canadian Air Force where they indicate that transport would be 4 1/2 days versus the 2 days proposed in City Council https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5WlBT7uQTbwU1dhcW02a3NFYjg/edit
Recommendations by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on what is acceptable duration of transport for Farm Animals based on Canadian Federal Health of Animals regulations (page 13) http://www.nfacc.ca/pdfs/codes/Transportation%20Code%20of%20Practice.pdf
Canadian Federal Health of Animals Act, Subsection 64 (i) for the humane treatment of animals and generally (i) governing the care, handling and disposition of animals, (ii) governing the manner in which animals are transported within, into or out of Canada, and (iii) providing for the treatment or disposal of animals that are not cared for, handled or transported in a humane manner;
Ontario Animal Welfare Act: Prohibitions re distress, harm to an animal Causing distress 11.2 (1) No person shall cause an animal to be in distress. Permitting distress (2) No owner or custodian of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/statutes/english/2008/elaws_src_s08016_e.htm
The we also included our concerns over the misrepresentation of commmisioned disease reports and concealment of disease and the corresponding various Federal and Provincial violations blah blah blah. But that can be addressed another day.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
One of the original letters of complaint we sent was to Minister Gerry Ritz who heads up the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food. We received a generic reply from the Minister on August 28th, 2013. After the initial email was sent to Minister Ritz a request for an investigation of the road transport of the Toronto Zoo Elephants as well as a complaint and request for an investigation of tuberculosis at PAWS was sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. On September 23, 2013 we got this:
The complaints were also forwarded to the appropriate Federal and Provincial agencies and officials which oversee the transport, import and export of animals and animal welfare in CANADA. This response was received on September 23, 2013, just a couple of weeks ago. It would appear the final Federal approvals had not yet been granted for the road transport plan. If this was the case then why did the Toronto zoo, Zoocheck Canada and PAWS officially announce a tentative date for transport? The Toronto Zoo elephants are not going anywhere without those permits and City Council has no authority over the Federal Government.
This press release went out from the zoo on September 18, 3013
Here in a Toronto Star Article Zoocheck Canada’s Julie Woodyer says
“It’s all come together,” Woodyer said. “The stars have finally lined up.”
All necessary permits are in and zoo CEO John Tracogna has approved the transport plan, which will see the elephant trio travel across the continent by truck, according to Woodyer.
Interesting, article dated Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Just 6 days before we received our email from CFIA (which must approve the transport plan) appearing to indicate that no decision had been made yet.
Just makes you go hmmmm? Given Zoocheck’s proven track record of not being able to understand the difference between fact, fiction and blatant BS it is hard to believe anything that comes out of Ms. Woodyer’s mouth these days, if ever.
So we all pitched in to get this opposition some gifts,
A golden shovel award, because no one shovels “it” as good as you do!
A paddle, you know how the saying goes. Up the S*** creek without one and all that…
A hot air balloon…no explanation needed.
And a box of tissues, again, no need to explain