With the current shut down of the USA government which includes most of the USDA/APHIS services where will Zoocheck and PAWS turn to? Their precious ally in the USDA will have no power to manipulate in their favour. Canadian Food Inspection Agency cannot work with the USDA during furlough to discuss the issue of the transport of the Toronto Zoo elephants or the issue of tuberculosis at PAWS sanctuary.
I imagine the rage and the giant Bob Barker petition which will most certainly be upon us in the coming days is going to be vitriolic, a wrath worse than Khan’s! However we have laws in this country, laws which do not have to pander to animal rights ideology or to celebrities and thankfully we do not have within these government agencies, animal rights allies working for a mandate outside of the agencies own mandates. Those laws have been breached; they were breached multiple times by Toronto City Council on this issue. Permits were applied for when due diligence was not complete, the independent infectious disease report council adopted over the Toronto Zoo Vets due diligence was paid advocacy and misrepresented to council. Efforts to conceal a disease are also considered a federal violation. Toronto City council seems to think it is autonomous and outside the laws which govern our province and our country, that they have the power to force laws and decisions based on their personal beliefs onto the people or in this case elephants of this city.
During the summer of 2012 council wilfully pursued forcing a vote to have the elephants transported on a plane which did not meet the International Aviation regulations for live animal transport. They were well aware that passing the motion would mean breaking the law, break animal welfare laws as well as put the elephant’s lives at risk. But it seems at this point we have extremists on council who have clearly lost the plot. Or perhaps it was a power play by Councillors playing to the tune of one councillor who thinks she could be Mayor one day? And what is the plot? I suppose we must remind them that is to have these elephants transported safely and humanely to a new home which is safe from disease, in a warmer climate and more importantly which enhances the social needs of the three pachyderms.
Upon the publication of a Toronto Star news story which indicated that Canadian food Inspection Agency had not approved the transport plan for the elephants the anti zoo coalition went berserk on social media yesterday, hurling angry rage filled rants at anyone and everyone they consider as the enemy over this issue. This misdirected rage was annoying to say the least. It was not those opposed to this transport plan that promised a plane for two years and then reneged. It is also not those opposed to this transfer and transport plan who came out publicly just a few short weeks ago and announced that ALL THE PERMITS WERE IN and that the transport was a go. No, that was not us. It was in fact Zoocheck. Why did they make these announcements knowing full well that a key permit had not yet been granted?
This pumped up the anti zoo and pro PAWS supporters only to bring them down, and bring them down hard. I can respect that sense of disappointment but I cannot accept blaming us for this or respect the angry hate filled commentary directed at someone simply because they have an opposing ideology, extremist rage accomplishes nothing. In their own words we are an irrelevant group of people who have no credibility so how could we have managed to make the Federal government bend to our will? Perhaps if they spent less time maligning and insulting people on social media and more time working effectively to contact governing agencies and to research and present the facts they would not be facing this current set back and disappointment?
None of those opposed to this transfer had any intentions of getting involved in an “us vs them” or “zoo vs sanctuary” war. Our sole mandate was to ensure that these elephants go to the facility which best suits their needs at this time, safely and humanely. It is highly unlikely that the staunch opposition against zoos will relinquish their ideology to evaluate more impartially all the factors which should be considered in this matter. It is unfortunate that this public relations strategy designed and promoted by animal rights activists and organizations prevents mutual respect for passion and caring for animals. It denies productive collaboration to improve welfare in zoos where it is needed and to work together fighting to save wild elephants from extinction by poaching.
Imagine what could be accomplished if you took extremism out of the equation?
Zoocheck and PAWS as well as councillors have stated that the elephants cannot stay in Toronto one more winter. With Zoocheck’s inability to provide humane and legal transport to PAWS for almost 2 years now it is time for council to re evaluate their decision. With AZA cooperation the elephants could be in Florida in 2 days. The original crates from the previous transporter are still on site. Our ladies could be basking in the Florida sunshine before December. Settled at last where they can enjoy a new family, room to roam and the retirement they deserve.
The biggest Canadian Snowbirds Florida will ever see!