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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.
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.
Of course this will be a controversy, whose fault was it?
Lets review what we know shall we.
Zoocheck and PAWS were responsible for organizing the move. It would be on their orders when the elephants would be crated. This happened at about 8am despite the fact that Zoocheck and Active Environments( the transport company) knew there was to be a CFIA inspection at 8:30am. What was the rush Zoocheck? A responsible transporter would wait until the inspection was complete before crating the animals.Knowing they had been given several compliances by CFIA which needed to be met before being allowed to transport you would think common sense would dictate and they would wait for the CFIA officials to arrive. The zoo staff were to train the elephants to go into their crates and to load them when ordered to, the orders would come from those legally contracted to handle the move, Zoocheck and Active Environments.
The trucks transporting the elephants did not arrive on site at the elephant house until the afternoon. We know because we were there.
Why load the elephants at 8am if the trucks were not even on site yet?
As far as we know there was an issue with CFIA which is a Federal Government Agency, their inspection was scheduled. It was not the zoo staff or vets which caused the delays. Zoocheck had already brought in outside vets to override the Toronto vets to sign off on health certificates for transport. The Toronto Zoo vets were not comfortable with the health of an elephant on such a long transport. We know Zoocheck has claimed it would take just 50hrs with stops but we also know now that at this time, 7:45pm on October 20th, 2013 the elephants have been in their crates for just over 80hrs with over 67hrs of road time.
The zoo did not cause a delay, they would not risk more time in the crates for these elephants they are the ones who felt road transport over 4200km was inhumane remember? People are so quick to blame the zoo based on their personal anti zoo beliefs. Perhaps people thought they could leave before CFIA arrived? I mean if you are going to have such nefarious thoughts then at least be fair and consider motive for both parties involved. PAWS had their annual fundraising event, The Grape Stomp on Saturday October 19, 2013. If they had left at 9am from the zoo there would have been a grande entrance of the three Toronto girls right in the middle of the event.
The CBC’s 5th Estate claims they will prove it was the zoo’s fault. Well why dont we first find out what the delay actually was about before hurling accusations. Based on the biased anti zoo documentary they just did and the fact that this program has an exclusive legal contract with PAWS to film the move how much freedom or even desire do you think they have to portray this move and the events surrounding it impartially?
We have evidence of our own. And once we know our elephants are safely off the crates we will put together some information of our which shows how Zoocheck and Active Environments bungled this whole transport and made mistakes which added hours of extra time on to this move. Even without the 10hrs delay the elephants would have been in the crates for 70hrs with 57hrs of road time and counting because they still have not arrived. Perhaps if Zoocheck had hired a transportation company which had actually transported animals before it would have taken less time? Or maybe if they had actually gone to the right port of entry into the USA, the one where animals being transported are inspected? That might have saved some time. Did you really think it took 7hrs to get from Toronto to Sarnia? With a full police escort? Ah yes but as always there is so much more to this than meets the eye.
All in due time my friends, all in due time.
Ticker was stopping last evening we will post the final number later today. Total time in the crates and total time on the road.
You can follow this LINK to see the results
how long will Toronto Zoo elephants be inhumanely crated on transport to California? 84hrs Crate time,over 70hrs on the road.
One of the favourite battle cries of the anti zoo army “look into their eyes!”
Look into their eyes and you will see….what?
Above is a series of photos of elephant eyes, taken from pics of wild, captive zoo, circus and sanctuary elephants.
Can you tell who is who just by looking into their eyes? Assuming that by doing so you can tell which animal is happy and which animal is sad?
It is amusing when I hear people chant this little ditty. How many times do you look at your cat or your dog and project your own human perception of emotion onto them? Yes we can sometimes tell when our pets are feeling happy, sad or scared; but by merely by gazing into their eyes? Sometimes my cat, while lying with his head down in a relaxed cat pose looks sad. But he isn’t sad, his body posture and the tilt of his head give him a sort of adorable appearance that inspires an emotional reaction from me. I start to think human thoughts, is he hungry? is he sick? did something happen? Or is it perhaps that he is just a cat, lazing about with thoughts I will never actually be able to fully know or understand…maybe he is just content thinking his cat thoughts. It is outlined a little more in detail in this interesting blog post http://melissaasmith.hubpages.com/hub/sad-zoo-animals and I tend to agree with the writer.
As humans we tend to relate everything we experience back to our own emotional experiences and this includes how we perceive others as well as animals. To me it is a bit narcissistic bordering on speciest to gage the emotions of living creatures against our own human emotions as if ours were the standard by which all life on earth should be compared to. They say they are the voice for the voiceless. To me this is kind of like an aggressive and unsolicited offer to interpret for a deaf person when you don’t know the first thing about sign language. Yes it is rooted in compassion and caring to want to be a voice for animals but when human advantage and motive begin to take centre stage that voice becomes your own, not one for animals. And the human species is rarely a purely selfless creature no matter how kind or good you might think you are. Ego is ever present, be it the ego which pats yourself on the back for doing what it considers to be an act of kindness to the ego that wants to compete, to win, perhaps to win a campaign for a cause. Personal motivation can be sly and covert even an unconscious parasitic crippler of good deeds. If one is not aware enough to recognize that they do not have super magic Dr. Doolittle powers of animal telepathy what are the odds that they are self aware enough to assess the influence their personal ego might have over their actions and words?
Perhaps there are many voices for the voiceless. Who decides whose voice is the right one? Surely being the loudest does not simply make you right.
“As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the
least wit are the greatest blabbers.”
No happy, content or actively curious emotions are noted as no activist would ever admit a captive elephant can be happy unless it is in one of the sanctuaries they support. Because it makes sense that other than being poisoned or shot and then having their faces hacked off with machetes in the wild the only two places in the entire world where and elephant can be happy is at a sanctuary.
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!