We find it the height of hypocrisy that you would have the nerve to call anyone out on the humane treatment of elephants. We will address a few facts about the Toronto Zoo elephant saga so we can to level out the playing field in your latest attempt to name and shame Jimmy Fallon for having a live elephant on his show. We would like to ask you a few questions, like why after 8 months the Toronto Zoo elephants have not been integrated with your existing herd and why it appears by all accounts, that Thika is in fact isolated from her family. Why don’t we see this family herd together anymore? She lived with that herd for over 30yrs without incident. Let’s talk about YOUR record of humanity towards elephants Mr. Stewart. You see we have a little experience with your name and shame campaigns and we believe that your record and claims of being experts on captive elephants is flawed. We fought to send the Toronto Zoo elephants to The National Elephant Center in Florida. You lobbied alongside animal rights groups to acquire them and with the help of animal rights leaning Toronto City Councillors you won. But it was not by any means a fair fight.
PAWS has no right to accuse anyone of inhumane actions towards elephants after what you
did to The Toronto Zoo elephants.
The elephant hook is the animal rights movements’ greatest propaganda tool against elephants in captivity, who really wields this tool abusively? We believe that propaganda is also weapon of abuse. Such as the propaganda you used to denigrate and degrade the Toronto Zoo and its staff. Perhaps if you were to able adapt the proper humane use of the elephant guide and some established free contact methods you would have been able to train your TB infected elephant Annie to receive her tuberculosis treatments sooner than later, sooner meaning earlier than 6 months after she was officially diagnosed with the disease. It is your responsibility to execute treatment of your animals, leaving an animal to suffer from disease goes against the Five Freedoms, the animal rights bible if you will, “Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.” and “Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering”. To date no one has a clue what has happened to Annie and it appears that your adoring fans who love elephants so much don’t even care about what happened to her. Where is Annie? Is she living in quarantine and isolated from her family group? Socially deprived? Is she even being treated? Is she dying? It seems once the Toronto 3 arrived Annie was pushed under the rug like so many other elephants that have passed away in PAWS care. Let’s have a brief refresher course on what you Mr. Stewart consider to be humane as you are the self-proclaimed experts on all things humane for captive elephants. First look back up at that picture of The Toronto Zoo’s healthiest and youngest elephant Thika. The photos were taken just one month before her transport to PAWS in California. Now look at Thika just four days after her horrifically long and cruel transport to PAWS last October 2013. Less than a week after arriving at PAWS Thika looked dehydrated disorientated and near death. You blamed low vitamin E and the zoo for this , not 80+ hours trapped in a crate or 70+ hours on the road. The elephants received Vitamin E shots prior to Transport. This is documented.
What we learned about PAWS:
o Covered up a tuberculosis outbreak at your facility in order to lobby for the Toronto Zoo elephants and present a false front that the PAWS facility was disease free when in fact you had an on-site tuberculosis outbreak. You failed to tell the truth about Tuberculosis at their facility to the people of Toronto
o Were unable to diagnose TB at their facility and as a result one elephant died and two other elephants were infected. You DID NOT tell the Toronto Zoo or the Toronto Media; in fact you publically denied the presence of active TB entirely and accused zoo staff of lying
o The bull elephant Sabu died at PAWS from tuberculosis January 2012; You knew he was TB+ just three months before Toronto Council voted to send the Toronto Elephants to PAWS. You again attempted to cover up the cause of death claiming Sabu died from severe arthritis when USDA necropsy reports indicated Sabu was TB+ at the time of his death
o Ruby was an African elephant who died at PAWS just two months before the Toronto Zoo announced they would phase out their elephant program in the spring of 2011. You were already lobbying alongside Zoocheck and their animal rights leaning affiliates on City council. Ruby’s cause of death has never been determined or made public.
• The Toronto Zoo vets asked for the necropsy and health reports on deceased elephants at PAWS and you cried foul throwing legal threats at the zoo claiming you could not share that information due to legal agreements with previous owners. You were finally forced to share the necropsy reports but you used these legal threats to deny the Toronto Zoo vets the opportunity to share their eventual necropsy findings with the people of Toronto
• Through Freedom of Information it was proven that PAWS and Zoocheck paid a Dr. Susan Cork from the University of Calgary to write a rave review about PAWS’s “perfect and world class “disease prevention protocols”. Toronto City Council eventually used that paid report over the Due Diligence findings of the Toronto Zoo experts and veterinary staff. The PAWS report from Dr. Cork was missing key data on tuberculosis at the facility including elephant to human transmission, it was paid advocacy
Through Freedom of Information requests from the University of Calgary we were able to access the necropsy results for Ruby and why the Toronto Zoo vets were so concerned.
What did the necropsy report say?
• Ruby had a mediastinal mass on her lung and mysterious lumps on her lymph nodes at time of death. PAWS made the decision NOT to send Ruby’s tissues for culture to determine the nature of those masses, if they were tuberculosis or some other disease. Ruby had a five time history of exposure to tuberculosis including at PAWS facility where she had lived in a shared barn with the now infected or deceased from TB Asian elephants
• This was never shared with the Toronto media or public, the zoo staff were censored
Why did YOU choose not to have those tissues cultured for disease? If she had TB it would have most certainly excluded PAWS as a possible new home for the Toronto Zoo elephants that’s why. A responsible animal caregiver and animal welfare advocate would have wanted to ensure the African herd was free of disease before introducing a disease free healthy herd. You didn’t care you just wanted to win, animal liberation ideology and victories superseded true animal welfare. African elephants make people money, not just for zoos but for sanctuaries too. We know you know this.
YOU cannot prove your African herd was not exposed to tuberculosis. Any African or Asian elephant which is sent to PAWS runs the risk of exposure to tuberculosis. Trunk wash data failed to diagnose tuberculosis in the elephant which transmitted the disease to others at PAWS – that elephant Rebecca died from tuberculosis.
Yes, some zoos get tuberculosis outbreaks. However the difference is TRANSPARANCY, zoos are upfront and honest about the health and welfare of their animals, PAWS is not. Zoos would not wilfully expose a disease free animal to disease because zoos care about the preservation of the species. As a private facility with known relationships with USDA inspectors PAWS benefits from the legal right to secrecy. Had it not been for our efforts to find the truth no one would ever have known that:
PAWS had an outbreak of tuberculosis and on-site transmission to both humans and elephants.
Ruby the African elephant had no tissues cultured for disease at the time of her death despite masses found on both her lungs and lymph nodes and a 5x history of exposure
PAWS has no quarantine facilities – NONE. The Toronto 3 were housed immediately after arrival in the same barn with the existing PAWS herd. When Ruby arrived years ago she was quarantined for just ten days. You don’t quarantine animals in the same barn!
Transport! The greatest hypocrisy of them all
o PAWS and Bob Barker lobby the Travelling Exotic Animal Protection Act on Capital hill, claiming that even short distances for transport can be physically and emotionally devastating to elephants yet YOU were willing to transport the Toronto Zoo elephants by truck the entire distance to California from Toronto, over 70 hours of transport time and over 85 hours trapped in crates
o The means justified the end for PAWS despite the risks and when Thika was literally physically deteriorated to the point of near death after arrival you pretended it was the condition she was in before she left the Toronto Zoo. This of course was a flat out lie; there are thousands of Toronto Zoo patron’s photographs proving this
o The brakes on the truck transporting Thika “burned out” on the Donner Pass causing her to be left behind for more than an hour and separated from the only family she has ever known. We feel strongly based on consultation with elephant management experts from around the world that this separation after almost 70 hours of road transport (the first in her life) was likely responsible for the trauma and subsequent physical damage she suffered. Time was of the essence as the daylight was fading and you needed to film the victorious arrival, there was no time to wait for Thika. Were you speeding? And if so why?
o PAWS promised to fly the Toronto 3 but clearly never had any intentions of flying them. You threw Bob Barkers million dollar flight plan around in the media to sway public and political opinions. You rejected a viable flight plan claiming it was not possible yet less than a year later Mila, an African elephant from New Zealand was flown to the San Diego zoo using that very plan, the same plane and the same crate modifications. Mila was integrated into the existing herd at San Diego within months. Toronto animal rights Councillors decried in council that the 30 hour trip by truck to Florida (The zoo’s choice) would be inhumane and cruel. You supported those claims
o PAWS kicked the Toronto Zoo keepers out the morning after arrival of the elephants and refused to allow them to aid in the integration process. Bob Barker verbally abused them and said “we were all crying and laughing but most of the crying was from those miserable keepers from the Toronto Zoo”. Yes they were crying, they just spent over 80 hours caring for animals they loved and worrying about their health and welfare. They had been lied about, publically harassed and stalked on social media for three years by the arrogance of you and your supporters. Their beloved elephants were being sent into a herd with potential deadly disease risks and then they were forced to emotionally abandon them. As you bragged about their victory it was the Toronto Keepers who were able to coax the traumatized Thika out of her crate, not you
o PAWS proceeded to allow Thika to spend that first night outside on a cold October evening even though trauma from transport could have aided in the onset of capture myopathy related hypothermia and killed her. This is the time period where Thika withered to near death as evidenced in the photos above, both Toka and Iringa were limping horrifically
o PAWS claims long or even any transport of elephants is wrong. Through your own arrogance you have now set a new precedent for the transport of elephants in North America, a transport you claim to ideologically oppose as inhumane
o After over 8 months you cannot even integrate the Toronto herd with their existing herd, to make matters worse you are unable to integrate Thika with her own Toronto Family group. You parade your experts around claiming an elephant living in isolation without family is cruel and here they have both Annie and Thika living alone. The Calgary Zoo elephants have been partially integrated at the Smithsonian Zoo in just a matter of weeks after arrival – Why can’t PAWS integrate the Toronto herd? You claim they are experts!
o There are no pictures or video evidence of the Toronto 3 even being introduced to PAWS elephants through a fence, no pictures of the Toronto 3 all together since the October/November of 2013, almost 8 months.
Ed, you wrote in a recent press release to The Tonight Show:
“Unfortunately for elephants, their use in entertainment equates with being subjected to highly unnatural and inhumane conditions. Elephants endure intensive confinement and long hours spent on chains, social deprivation, transport in cramped semi-trucks………..”
Isn’t this the kind of abuse PAWS and Zoocheck allowed transporting the 3 Toronto elephants?
Furthermore for your own benefit you allowed the transport to be filmed;
to become ENTERTAINMENT for your followers and a promotional tool for yourselves.
The transport management company you use owns marine parks in the Philippines which acquire dolphins and false killer whales from the slaughters in Taiji, Japan. The hypocrisy there is pretty self evident
“Look at us! We are better than a zoo!”
We have news for you Ed, at $250 dollars a day admission for guests
not only are you a zoo but you are an elitist zoo
The prime reason Toronto gave up their elephants was to enhance their social well being.
All PAWS has done in 8 months is segregate and destroy that family.
If there is one thing we have learned through the whole Toronto elephant ordeal it’s that PAWS are not really interested in helping ANYONE or ANY ELEPHANT they cannot themselves possess and own
You “helped” Toka, Thika and Iringa into chains for their 86 hour long trip and then you “helped” the keepers leave without so much as one hour of cross training with PAWS animal care staff. Your elephant management team refused to work with the Toronto staff while in Toronto to learn the routines and management care the elephants were accustomed to. By doing so the transition to their new home on the dusty, dry hills of California would have been made much easier for the elephants, again PAWS needs, campaigns and egos came first before the health and welfare of the Toronto Zoo elephants.
You twist and cater everything to suit your agendas, to raise the funds you need to control the media message and in your case to run your own private zoo. Yes that it how we see it Ed, you and Pat wanted to keep exotics and for years failed to do so without any financial success. Failure after failure until you figured out that elephants make money and draw media and celebrity attention. Pat was nothing more than a failed animal trainer, rejected by the animal training industry and ironically enough your first elephant together, Neena, disappeared without a trace or explanation. What happened to Neena Ed? Your fans are so busy gratifying themselves with your pre-packaged do-gooder smoke and mirrors PR campaigns they don’t even care about Neena, or Rebecca or Annie or Ruby and all the others. We care, about each and every one of them. There are so many unanswered questions about the health and well being of your elephants. By releasing well calculated photos, videos and updates and captioning everything to denigrate the animal’s previous lives at other facilities you create falsehoods and bias based on nothing more than expensive ad campaigns, emotional reactions and media manipulation. The only reason the Toronto Zoo elephants survived that trip is due to the award winning health and fitness management program which was run by the Toronto Zoo. Your elephants are bored and overweight and you admit you provide no enrichment and no fitness training. The highlight of the elephants’ days is likely when staff and the paying guests visit to feed the animals treats at the fence line. And yet the public continues to cry “sanctuary” unaware that both you and the Tennessee Sanctuary have had USDA and Fish and Wildlife restrictions placed on your facilities which deny the import of any more elephants at this time (both species for TES and Asians for PAWS). Why is that Ed?
As far as we are concerned PAWS was willing to expose the Toronto Zoo elephants to a deadly disease and an inhumane transport in an effort to win a public victory against zoos and for the financial perpetuation of their own private zoo. You used the Toronto Zoo elephants, the same way you accuse zoos of using elephants. You are hypocrites who have the nerve to attack anyone who owns elephants who doesn’t wear the moniker of “sanctuary” on their lapel. You throw your accreditation standards around in the media as the gold standard for animal care but it is an accrediting body which Ms. Derby herself aided in the creation of and then subsequently grandfathered herself and all the members of her original failed accreditation body TAOS so that they and others would not have to adhere the very standards you preach and demand from other sanctuaries, zoos and private owners. PAWS are not “experts”, not in the way you promote yourselves. You are however expert at manipulating the public and painting a picture of yourself as perfection and heaven for elephants. Perfection not so much, heaven perhaps is more correct, as PAWS is a quick and easy transition on the way to elephant heaven as you have had quite a few elephant deaths yourselves, many of which you claim the cause of death as “unknown”.
In the end your secrecy and well documented relationships with USDA inspectors and well funded “experts” ensure that PAWS can always continue to blame everyone else for any death at your facility and your army of the emotionally brainwashed will believe you. Facts and science must dictate not emotional ideologies. And the facts are that you are unable to integrate the Toronto herd with your existing herd, either due to your ineptitude or premeditated plans gone awry. Answer the questions Ed, what are you doing to these elephants? What happened to Thika? Where is the medical update that you are required to send the Toronto Zoo according to your legal agreements?
We would like to see PAWS:
o Be more transparent and honest about the health and welfare of their animals.
o Adhere to the legal agreement they have with the Toronto Zoo and send the health reports on the Toronto Zoo elephants.
o Release the health and medical documents for The Toronto 3 from immediately after transport
o Publicly release ALL trunk wash and Statpak data on ALL of your elephants from the past 12 months
o Release the necropsy reports and tissue cultures on all deceased elephants at PAWS
o Stop using your live animals as entertainment for paying guests
o Stop charging people $250 a day to visit or start calling yourself a zoo
o Explain what has happened to Annie
o Explain why the brakes on the truck transporting Thika “burned out” on the Donner Pass causing her to be left behind for more than an hour. We demand to know why you left her behind
o Explain what happened to cause Thika’s deteriorating health after transport
o Explain why you were speeding while transporting the Toronto Zoo elephants through the Donner Pass?
o Bring in Toronto Zoo keepers to aid in the integration of the Toronto 3 or explain why you are not able or willing to integrate them
o Stop being hypocrites
o Start being honest
Until you start providing answers Mr. Stewart PAWS will continue to be nothing more than a self serving hypocritical player in the animal liberation movement who subjected three innocent healthy animals to an inhumane transport, a potentially deadly disease and now social deprivation. You will attack and bully anyone if those attacks can bolster your public image or gain you assets, monetary or otherwise and you are allowed to operate with complete autonomy but the truth is out and now people want answers.