Ok well then lets hear what you have to say about Gypsy, Thika and Toka being kept isolated and alone at The Performing Animal Welfare Society. Why have you not spoken up about this? Remember the Toronto Zoo elephants? You supported the inhumane 85hr road transport of the three pachyderms to California. Within two months Thika was segregated and then lived alone for 18 months. By all accounts she is still living alone. Iringa died just 20 months after arriving at PAWS. Is an elephant living isolated and alone at a sanctuary aware of some kind of difference between its life at a zoo vs its life at a sanctuary? No, actually it is not. Elephants don’t cry and they don’t make comparisons of that sort. “Oh Im alone but I am at a sanctuary so its ok”, there are actually people who believe this nonsense and you, a renowned scientist promote and perpetuate this kind of ignorance and lack of logical and scientific thinking with your constant back and forth on your support of good zoos and your flip flopping and increasingly unimportant opinions.
None of the Toronto elephants have begun integration with PAWS existing African herd, and if you don’t remember the reason for the Toronto Zoo re-homing their elephants IT WAS TO ENHANCE THEIR SOCIAL WELL BEING.
Gypsy lives alone because her entire herd HAS DIED OFF after exposure to undiagnosed tuberculosis onsite at the PAWS sanctuary. Yet here you are blah blah blahhing again against good zoos. Throwing your primate expertise around like it was the word of god. You poked your nose into the Toronto Zoo elephant debate and ignored all the scientific evidence sent to you about tuberculosis at the facility then you did it again with the Woodland Park Zoo elephants and here you are again shopping for new elephants to fill the empty herds at PAWS and other sanctuaries who seem to have their own issues with keeping elephants alive and socially enriched. FYI The Woodland Park Zoo elephants were integrated into their new multi generational family group in less than three months….two years later The Toronto elephants are still not integrated. What do you have to say about that?
If you are going to speak out against a lone elephant in a zoo then it is your professional responsibility to also speak out about the lone elephants living at american sanctuaries. You have used zoos your entire life to inspire your love of wildlife, to fund your research and to aid in your many causes and organizations. How can you have any credibility as a scientist or any self respect for that matter if you don’t speak up about those lone sanctuary elephants? But it seems in your later years you have decided you no longer need zoos and be damned all the other young people out there who use zoos as a springboard to develop a love of the study of science and the natural world. I imagine if we just follow the money we would see what motivates you these days.
Once an idol for me you have become a joke, throwing your famous name around in the name of extremist dogma and donations. Its sad that you have become such a hypocrite in your old age.
You autographed books are off to the thrift store.
Can you tell the difference Jane?
There seems to be a misconception being perpetuated by animal rights fanatics that we here at Zoosmatter lobbied to keep our Toronto elephants at our zoo. This is not true and there is documented evidence throughout this blog and at City of Toronto Council and executive meetings proving otherwise. We would have preferred the zoo had fundraised and expanded the elephant exhibit and program but that was not to be the case with the coming of pandas. We supported a rehoming of our elephants, to a multi-generational family herd which would most mimic the lives led by their wild counterparts. We were against sending our elephants on long transports that would prove to be unhealthy and in the case of Iringa, deadly to the animals. We supported a move, just not to a facility with a long history of issues with tuberculosis and a known penchant for keeping facts and truths private as well as the promotion of agendas that denigrate and devalue the incredible conservation work being done by good zoos around the world.
Another misconception, well actually it is a blatant lie that PAWS needs to be called out on is that Toronto’s elephants were regularly chained other than for transport training. Why does the Toronto Zoo allow PAWS to allow its reputation to be damaged on the official webpage by not correcting this? Why does the zoo and PAWS allow these lies to be continually perpetuated? Enforce the contract Toronto Zoo Board because It is not true.
In fact the only time they were ever chained was when PAWS, Zoocheck and their anti-zoo army stepped in and forced an inhumane and ultimately deadly 85 hour road trip on them. Rest in peace Iringa.
This past week we have seen many PAWS supporters ask a simple question, why won’t you or why can’t you evacuate your animals? Those who are known to be non-supporters of PAWS had their comments deleted pronto and were also swiftly banned from posting. Simple questions like “why have your live webcams been turned off?” go unanswered. There is always a handful of the most loyal fans who will respond to these questions on PAWS behalf with generally ludicrous made up answers to appease the more ludicrous of questioners. Still, we see you asking and we see you either attacked, appeased or ignored. Here is our take on last week’s events:
Now, if the air quality conditions were as you claim Ed, peachy keen, when the fires were very close and basically raging between Sept 10 to September 14, enough so that you could send the elephants out in to it for photo ops why not have the webcams running? If the animals were calm and unaffected by the fires and smoke then why not have the cams on? Just answer the question Ed, it is not that hard. We are prepared for your answer, “oh there is a problem with the live feed or it’s broken” and if that is the case then why the big deal? Why not just answer the damn question? It appears to be one of the most popular questions on your Facebook page currently, one that goes unanswered by you and your marketing team. But let’s move on to the greater more interesting question that has gone unanswered.
Why did you refuse to evacuate and then refuse the help offered to get your entire collection of animals out of the fiery and smokey conditions?
We understand why you refused help from the zoological and performing animal experts, accepting this aid from people who use an elephant guide would undermine your lobby efforts to ban the guide. Your fans may not accept this very rational and obvious assessment but there are many people out there who do. Are you incapable of moving those elephants without a major undertaking because simply put your management and training skills are not as world class as you claim? Unable to properly train Annie for treatment of TB would be one indicator this is the case (according to USDA FOI) And FYI Annie was not abused at her zoo, she lived with you for 19 years and you were unable to do anything to heal this alleged abuse or her foot issues? You do remember she was exposed to tuberculosis when you failed to diagnose Rebecca, she had positive STATPAK results shortly after and was eventually diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Your constant misrepresentation of the truth to make excuses for yourselves really is sickening.
Incapable of integrating Thika with her own family herd or any of the Toronto elephants with your existing herd would be another major red flag. While zoos all over the world are integrating elephant groups within months and even days its been two years and still you cannot integrate our elephants with yours. It is pretty sad to think of Thika living alone all those months and now Toka as well.
It seems however that the real reason evacuation was avoided was right there in front of our faces all this time.
And here it is.
- “Seeing the Elephants”
2-Day Weekend Getaway
• Arrival in San Andreas, California, on Friday.
• Spend Friday and Saturday nights at a lovely bed & breakfast in this historic Gold Rush town.
• Awake each morning to a scrumptious, homemade breakfast.
• SATURDAY features an educational, fun-filled, daylong visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara,
Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000.
• You’ll receive an “insider’s” tour of the elephant habitat and spend the day with PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 Sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
• A vegetarian picnic lunch will be served.
• On your own for dinner Friday and Saturday.
• SUNDAY features a special extended visit with the lions, tigers, leopard and bears in their ARK 2000 habitats.
Receive an “insider’s” tour of the habitats.
Donation price for this unique experience: $800 per person
($1,300 for 2 people sharing a room)
“Seeing the Elephant”
Saturday, 1-Day Getaway
• Arrival in San Andreas, California, by 9 a.m.
• Take part in an educational, fun-filled, day visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara, Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000. You’ll explore elephant habitat and spend the day with the PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
- A vegetarian picnic lunch will be served.
Donation price for this unique experience: $250 per person
This event would have most certainly had to be cancelled if you moved your animals to safety. And with many people likely flying in for the event and with bookings at your friend’s B and B as well, evacuation and rescheduling would have been a financial and logistical disaster for all involved. It was just easier and more financially beneficial to “shelter in place”.
How much does this event bring in? $15,000, $25,000? Not to mention all the priceless photo ops you use afterwards to promote yourself. We know there are many of you out there that will be outraged at this suggestion on our part, but we are not concerned about your outrage over us, we could care less actually. Our main concern is the animals and their health and well-being. Anyone who would see this connection and not have an “aha” moment, actually stop and think to themselves that this makes sense is not someone we are appealing to. We are appealing to those who have a rational thought process and who care more about animal welfare than their ideological membership in the PAWS club.
Did they refuse evacuation so as to ensure this event was not interrupted or cancelled? You should all ask yourselves this question honestly and without bias.
Did you know that USDA elephant inspector Dr. Denise Sofranko has been known to frequent these visitor events? That is relevant when you consider PAWS told a news station that they have kept their inspector informed about their “shelter in place” emergency plan. If a zoo or a private owner had done this there would be a 50 thousand person petition and complaints to the USDA. But PAWS always gets a pass and its starting to appear suspicious don’t you think?
One minute Ed Stewart is telling the media “you cannot prepare for a monster fire like this” and the next minute he is saying “we prepare all year for this”. One minute he says they cannot evacuate and the next he says oh we have an evacuation plan. Either you do or you don’t Ed. Just pick one answer and go with it, people ARE PAYING ATTENTION.
Should PAWS get a pass just because you support their ideology? Should they get a pass even if it might put the animals’ lives at risk? What happens when the next fire comes from the south or the west and there is no city or highway to buffer the onslaught? The intensity of the heat and smoke alone sweeping across those dry, barren fields would be enough to kill animals. And these fires are not going away anytime soon.
Perhaps this will help you decide. When PAWS, Zoocheck and Active Environments moved the Toronto elephants in trucks and with drivers who had little to no experience transporting large animals Thika’s truck’s brakes burned out in the Donner Pass, why we cannot say for certain but it is suggested that speed was a factor. You see it was getting late and dark and good Old Bob Barker and the press were waiting at the facility for the animals to arrive so they could film the big victory. The push days previous to get on the road at a very specific time was probably because they had hoped to arrive on the Saturday of the Grape Stomp event. Imagine how grand that would have been and imagine people opening up their wallets on the spot. They wholly underestimated the time it would take to move these elephants citing originally 40 to 50 hours when in fact it took 85 hours. After Thika’s truck broke down the others chose to speed off with Toka and Iringa leaving Thika behind. Emotionally and physically exhausted and drained she had to watch her only family drive away and leave her behind and alone. Imagine how traumatizing that must have been for her. She was traumatized because she didn’t even want to leave her crate later and it took the Toronto Keepers over an hour to get her to do so and then she refused to enter the barn. And she was allowed to remain outside despite the cooler evening temperatures and not taking into consideration how those cold temperatures could affect an animal experiencing physical or emotional trauma after transport. And as we know the next morning Bob Barker kicked those keepers out after mocking their sadness and tears of course, PAWS did not allow them to stay and aid in the transition as per industry standards. Because it was not about the animals’ well-being it was about egos and pay back on the part of Ed and his team. This is what Thika looked like just days after arrival and we assure you she did not look like that before she left Toronto.
But the show must go on. And it really is a show. Carefully chosen video clips and photo ops, limited information, media statements. Everything calculated to present PAWS in just the right way to promote themselves and their profitable animal rights agendas. PAWS continues to have the nerve to accuse people who make their living with animals of exploiting them for money, profit and greed despite several million dollars in profits sitting in their own bank accounts. And to add insult to injury they had the nerve to capitalize on this disastrous and deadly fire to ask for donations for their magical firefighting goat fund. It was only after they were mocked on social media for putting out the begging bowl for themselves that they suggested people assist animal rescue efforts in the areas affected by the fires. Which of course was followed by photos of Ed donating some hay. By the way, with a tuberculosis quarantine order in place for Gypsy and possibly the bulls we were wondering if that hay came from ARK2000, because, well that would be against USDA regulations right?
If you want to believe that PAWS didn’t put all of their animals at risk in order to salvage their visitor weekend and a $15+ profit then that is your choice, we believe they did and that is our right. More and more of you have begun to ask questions and we applaud your courage to face the wrath of the super fandom, to stand on your own, step away from the groupthink mentality and do what is truly best for these animals. Keep asking questions and never stop. Hold them to the same standards they publicly demand of others. Those animals depend on your courage.
“Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Monday during a news conference on the Valley fireand two other major fires still burning, that the state has recorded about 1,500 more fires than usual for this time of year. And it’s not over yet. “We don’t see an end to fire season in the months to come,” he said.”
Wildfires are the new normal
PAWS and its supporters are complaining that they are being targeted, picked on unfairly. First let’s just point out that PAWS and its affiliates have targeted and picked on animal owners and zoological facilities for many years. They are not exempt from scrutiny, not because quid pro quo but because they have made very public claims that they are the industry standard and the world’s best at just about everything, transport and animal care, leaders in protected contact, the moral higher authority on everything animal including disease prevention and treatment. But PAWS is not exempt from scrutiny, their claims of the best disease prevention protocols has been debunked during the Toronto Zoo elephant crisis. USDA and other government agency documents evidence a complete and utter failure at preventing the spread on tuberculosis and in fact having an onsite outbreak that infected humans and animals not previously infected with the disease. Their claims of the statpak as the gold standard of diagnosis and that they were the leaders in utilizing this process also fell apart like a wet cookie.As for transport that is a matter of opinion, if of course your opinion is that transporting any animal for an inhumane 85 hours by truck is some kind of high quality standard others should aspire to. And there is no evidence made public to assess the effects of this transport on the elephants. Except that within months the youngest Toronto elephant Thika was segregated from her family herd of 30+ years with unfounded claims bought hook line and sinker by the fandom of PAWS that it had been a forced herd, that Thika was aggressive to her family group. Again, this was disproved by the many years she spent with her herd without major issue. But PAWS and Zoocheck scoured their freedom of information documents from the zoo and found a couple of random non-issue occurrences they blew out of proportion just enough to justify their claims and further their agendas. Protect your image at all costs right?
It is more realistic to assume that Iringa was physically damaged from the transport and that Thika’s young and boisterous nature was a concern, a concern that she might knock over the physically frail and Injured Iringa who died 18 months later. And as soon as she died ta dah you are attempting to reintegrate Thika with Toka, what a convenient coincidence. So not only did none of the fandom scrutinize PAWS for having not one but two elephants living isolated and alone, Thika and Gypsy whose herd has all died off, they in fact supported this by not questioning it at all. Of course a zoo elephant or privately owned elephant living alone is a crime against humanity and all of the animal kingdom punishable by death according to what animal rights zealots post on social media. The contract with the Toronto Zoo clearly states that two health updates were required annually, months and months after arrival PAWS you send what basically amounts to a blog post where you harp back to health records from the elephants time at the Toronto Zoo, “oh this is better and that is better, we have cured everything” But freedom of information requests proved that PAWS did not send a single actual medical or veterinary document, no blood work nothing to support anything claimed in the report. The Zoo board, under the power and influence of city politicians who are pro PAWS would not invoke the contractual agreement to demand better more industry standard information on the health and welfare of our elephants. We could go on and on and on with evidence which suggest that PAWS should be scrutinized. To your loyal fans we ask, is it about idolizing an organization and an ideology or about caring about animal welfare? With little to no actual video footage, 30 seconds here and 30 seconds there and calculated photo ops how can anyone know the truth? Considering PAWS and Zoocheck were dishonest about tuberculosis at the facility, to the media, to the zoo and to the people of Toronto sorry if we are loath to trust them now. Causes of death are always somehow conveniently attributed to the former owner. Even Annie exposed onsite to undiagnosed tuberculosis in 2011, who tested as infected soon after then positive in June of 2012 was claimed to have died from foot ailments, the number one cause of death of elephants in captivity they stated, again conveniently pushing their anti-zoo agendas. This was the former zoo’s fault? Annie had lived at PAWS for almost 19 years. Why in 19 years were you unable to treat Annie? Why didn’t the rolling foothills of Calaveras County and the free range roaming aid her feet as PAWS claims it is supposed to? We await USDA FOI and we will see what Annie’s true cause of death was. We predict shades of Sabu and Rebecca.
So fast forward to today, where wildfires raging uncontrolled and endless drought are the new normal. Ironically when deputing to Toronto Councilors we raised this concern time and again, fear mongering they said. More ironically is that many of these councilors cite concerns with the effects of climate change and how to change and update our city management in accordance to new erratic and extreme weather conditions but our concerns about drought and wildfires was somehow pseudo-science. In fact as always our concerns were rational, fact and science based logic. So PAWS dodged this fiery bullet but what about the next fire or the one after that? What about the fire that comes from the west or the south or north? Where there is not a town or a highway to act as a buffer zone? Do you all really believe that goats and sprinklers will save those animals? In this time of extreme drought and subsequent threats from wildfires in Northern California PAWS should have an evacuation plan and the means execute said plan. You cannot afford to stand around begging elephants with treats to get them into crates and then on to trucks to get them to safety. The USDA and California Fish and Game should be demanding that PAWS find the means to operate a full scale evacuation if necessary. Simply saying oh hey were will stick it out, or we will stay here with our animals sounds all nice and martyr like but we don’t want martyrs we want safe animals. So to all you PAWS fans and to you Ed Stewart go ahead and complain, oh woe is me poor me they are picking on us. We understand how this solidifies your fanbase fanaticism, we get your marketing techniques and always have. But the doesn’t change the facts, other facilities, in particular ones you have harassed alongside your affiliates for years are held to high standards both legally and through the eyes of the public and you should be held to that same standard and those same rules regulations and laws, you are not infallible.
Keeping those animals on site exposed to that heavy smoke is unforgivable. You were offered an olive branch by people who by all accounts despise you and for you the feeling is mutual. But your animal’s lives are more important than a pissing match between you and your nemesis. But again we understand, accepting the help of people who use free contact with an elephant guide would undermine all the lobby work you are engaged in to ban it. So essentially in our eyes your animals and the people who support you were used for political power and gain. But here is the thing, don’t use our elephants or any other animal as a tool to achieve your personal agendas. That is exploitation. Don’t risk their lives to protect your ego and the reputation you have masterfully crafted over the years. Are you the Performing Animal Welfare Society or the Performing Animal Rights Society? Get an evacuation plan in place and put aside your polarized ideologies and fundraising agendas to put you animals first over agendas. Seriously, how much does it really cost to run a goat fire management program? Maybe you could use the money you fundraised in Mila’s name for those expenses.
So are you being attacked? Picked on? No, you are being scrutinized just like every animal organization should be, no one is exempt Ed and certainly not because you put the word sanctuary in your name and or have a bunch of big empty rolling hills that give the illusion of living in the wild. FYI, animals need enrichment, try throwing a few tires and balls in there already because it’s not the wild it’s a big, empty barren dry space, it is still captivity with nothing to do but wander around, eat and get fat.
The Story of Bunny from Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary
The Hypocrisy and Corruption of the USDA
The following is a summary from the USDA regarding the death of Bunny the elephant at Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary and the USDA’s subsequent clearing of TES of any wrong doing, judge for yourself.
On May 14, 2009, an elephant named Bunny died at The Elephant Sanctuary (TES), located in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Bunny was a fifty-seven year old, female, Asian elephant that arrived at TES in September of 1999. Bunny had a long history of foot problems prior to arriving at TES which subsided during her stay at TES. Her foot problems and the discovery of arthritis in her hind hip during her necropsy may have contributed to her downfall. Bunny went down on May 2, 2009 recovered even when she was hoisted to her feet with a back hoe. –(name redacted)–(name redacted) and the staff at TES continually discussed the option of euthanasia but decided against it as in their opinion the elephant was not suffering due to the pain medications she was receiving. Bunny was kept from exposure of the elements by stretching a tarp above her and covering her with blankets when necessary. The necropsy on Bunny was led by. University of Georgia, Veterinarian, (name redacted) who stated that she would not be able to give me any kind of statement until the cultures were finished incubating, and the dean and general counsel of the university approved her statement. I do not expect her statement until January of 2010.
*(Note how they qualify Bunny’s health issues by reminding everyone that her problems occurred before she arrived and of course got better afterwards however I am certain no zoo or circus would have allowed any animal to lie under a tarp outside and die for 12 days)
**( No statement from this veterinarian on the resulting cultures seems to be publically available)
Check out this little gem pulled off the net a few years ago where Sofranko cites work as a veterinarian at TES on her resume.
Perhaps Dr. Sofranko can explain what is happening to these elephants at TES? How can this NOT be a CONFLICT OF INTEREST? She worked there and now she is allowed to write up inspection reports? Do you really think she is reporting fairly, honestly and without without bias? If you answered yes I sincerely hope you enjoy taking your Unicorn for a walk this evening because you are either a naive child or a crazy person.
A Freedom of Information request was made last year to the USDA inquiring about any tuberculosis at the facility. The report came back with zero information about TB. That was odd considering we all know there are elephants with TB there. Just a few months after that FOI response the sanctuary announced a case of tuberculosis in one of their elephants, funny how the USDA FOI request mentioned nothing about TB.
In a final note a little shout out to Bob Barker, Mind your own backyard buddy. While you are sending letters to Seattle City Council promoting your private zoo at PAWS and sanctuaries like TES citing in your non expert opinions alleged unhappy and unhealthy elephants in zoos like Woodland Park, why the hell dont you do something about this at TES? Or Thika at PAWS living alone and away from her family herd? Or Annie likely dying from TB at PAWS?
You sir are the greatest hypocrite of all.
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.
It is the most common comment we get here at Zoos Matter and see on social media, you are liars. Yes that’s right we have spent 3 years carefully doctoring official government documents (lol) and posted them as facts without any legal repercussions. Of course the army of blind faith animal rights followers wilfully avert their minds from rational thinking and we are the bad guys for exposing truths.
This comes as no surprise to us, it is the reason animal rights organizations like PETA rake in 25+ million dollars a years despite being exposed for the militant vegan movement it is and the deaths of 90% of the animals they take in, despite the Humane Society of United States being exposed for spending more money on lawyers and lobbying than actual animal welfare, less than 1% of what is donated. People just avoid those little truths so as to maintain their commitment to their personal self definitions as the chosen superior saviours of animals. Meanwhile corporate animal rights groups have destroyed the animal welfare movement, a more reasonable and realistic approach to helping animals. By raking in those millions every year and diverting donations to themselves with slick ad campaigns HSUS, PETA and others have destroyed small animal rescue organizations which do the real work at ground level. But that is ok right? Because the big organizations have celebrities! OMG that is so much better than rolling up your sleeves with a bunch of nobody schmoes and really contributing. Faithfully reporting their propaganda online is much more effective and personally rewarding, right? More effective at giving you a sense of belonging to a cause with like minded people. We get called many names, they amuse us. AZA Black Ops is a personal favourite.
Who are Zoos Matter? We get asked this a lot. We are not one person and we are not Toronto Zoo keepers as the ARA set would have people believe. The core of this 300+ organization is a research team of over 30 people from around the world, regular people with regular jobs, zoological experts, animal care experts, people from sanctuaries, zoos, animal welfare advocates and scientists. You see Zoos Matter is a cooperative, we do not have or follow one leader. We work cooperatively to research evaluate and analyse information. We have members who submit Freedom of Information requests, members who scour social media for information members, who scour the net for news stories and we have more who collect research papers facts and data and we have members who write blog posts. We don’t take money from people, we do this voluntarily and we are part of a growing coalition and opposition to animal rights propaganda which takes advantage of YOUR media illiteracy. You want names? Well that would be ludicrous now wouldn’t it? No one needs to be harassed by angry animal rights members. And yes that is what they do, harass you and try to intimidate you to shut up, to stop posting a differing opinions than their own or challenging their belief systems, the intolerance is astronomical. We are Zoos Matter, we and we work together for a common goal, the truth. We don’t care what you call us because we have news for you, we are adults and we surpassed the insecurity caused by ignorant bullies a very long time ago and these constant insults in lieu of intellect are less than juvenile, they are infantile. Our rational and truth based approach has the power to open minds and we are committed to this endeavour for as long as it takes for the truth to be known. The reputations of large corporate animal rights groups are dropping like flies out there, finally after years of dominating the media without vocal opposition the tide is changing. HSUS being exposed for misappropriation and misrepresentation of their donations, PETA for their extremists ties and general stupidity and hypocrisy and now Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers) is going to bring down more of them including Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA) ASPCA and others. Their recent legal request for donors lists if accepted by the courts could be the final straw fr these organizations, that is of course of a $25 million payout doesn’t break them first. These animal rights groups are seeking a protection order, you can review the legal documents here. The exposure of these donors will be very telling indeed and we hope the courts comply with Feld’s request as it is a RICO case it is important to know where the money flows.
We have multiple FOI request in currently and will post the results as they come in. We will continue to follow PAWS and the Toronto Zoo 3 and challenge the lies which are being spread about the Toronto Zoo and the care they gave these elephants prior to transfer to PAWS. We will not allow PAWS or Zoocheck to blame the zoo for the current health condition of these elephants in an effort to alleviate responsibility and to exploit our elephants for their anti zoo causes nor will we allow their supporters to do the same. Responsibility for what you ask? For forcing a 71hr road transport which was deemed by multiple zoological experts to be inhumane and a threat to the elephants health and well being, and it appears their concerns were not unfounded.
PAWS is claiming the Tzoo3 have low vitamin E. This is in fact common amongst captive elephants and I dare PAWS to post their own elephants vitamin E reports. The Toronto Zoo elephants were given supplements for Vitamin E for years and received injections prior to transport, their Vitamin levels were and are public record and PAWS and Zoocheck had this information long before road transport became what they claim was their only option. You see low vitamin E can contribute to white muscle diseases in transport, and it can also be mistaken for Capture Myopathy, a muscle exertion disease which can happen as a result of trauma due to transport. It is not surprising PAWS made this public statement as the Toronto Elephants are not looking well, in particular Thika the youngest elephant. We predicted they would look for something they could blame as an underlying cause for their condition, something they could use to throw back blame on to the zoo and deflect from the possibility that TRANSPORT caused their current state of health. Thika seems to have suffered the most and PAWS supporters seem to think this condition, her gaunt dehydrated appearance was her condition prior to transport. Of course just as these same activists cannot FOI the same documents we have in the past to prove we have not doctored a thing cannot also simply search pictures of the girls prior to transport and see that they were healthy robust elephants, not the withering elephants they are today.
But let’s get to the point of logic. We know this is a tough area for many PAWS supporters, logic and rational thinking so bear with us if the statement is oversimplified.
If the Toronto Zoo 3 were suffering from Vitamin E deficiency to a point that their health could be compromised during the inhumane long transport which was opposed by the Toronto Zoo vets and 5 vets from CFIA why then did the Oakland Zoo vets hired by PAWS to override the Tzoo vets sign on their health certificates for transport? They reviewed the elephant’s medical histories and they approved their health for transport. It was PAWS and Zoocheck who said it was ok to transport the girls 70hrs by truck despite their claims now that a vitamin deficiency is the cause of their current condition. But they took the risk anyway and now wish to blame the zoo? Or captivity in general we suppose. The zoo said NO. The zoo told all of you this was a risk and all of you chose to ignore these concerns convinced by propaganda that these vets were acting on behalf of the AZA or CAZA and not based on their professional ethics and concern for these animals, because as we know only you and sanctuaries truly care about animals. But you didn’t care, all of you ignored the rational science based facts which evidence and supported the concerns about long distance road transport. All of you allowed Bob Barker to renege on his promise of air transport. Once again you were convinced it was the zoo’s fault somehow that air transport was not possible. Of course recently Mila from New Zealand was transported by air in the same plane and same modified crate designs which Zoocheck and PAWS rejected for the Toronto Zoo elephants and still you allow this without question, without scrutiny. If they had been flown would these elephants have suffered as they did over 71hrs on the road? If PAWS and Zoocheck were aware of the elephant’s health conditions literally years prior to transport and the Oakland vets reviewed current and past health records just weeks and days prior why on earth did they approve this transport knowing full well there was a health risk? Are they so arrogant that they think they can do no harm? If they are this arrogant it is because YOU the blind faith supporter never question, all you do is follow orders. Did Vitamin E deficiency contribute to capture myopathy in the Toronto Zoo elephants or did transport alone, 71hrs on the road and 84hrs in crates cause this? Either way, either or the Toronto Zoo vets opposed the road transport. They never faltered from their professional ethics.
If you truly care about animals then think for yourself and ask questions. Why did these organizations force this transfer by road knowing full well the medical risks involved?
And to those who believe they have pinpointed who each and everyone of us is, we are everywhere and we are everyone. And NO we will not approve your asinine commentary such as “you are liars” or “you will burn in hell”, if you have an intelligent fact based comment to make then make it otherwise take your commentary to one of the many groups you are a member of and continue to live in the dark, we are the light.