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Woodland Park Zoo vs Bunny the Elephant from Tennessee Sanctuary

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.

What is happening here?

What is happening here?

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.

Toronto Zoo patrons and members – you have been lied to by Toronto City Council

Time for Action! Please read the quick review below. More detailed explanations and discussion can be found in other blog posts.

As we prepare for our elephants to leave it is important for the people of Toronto to know a few things which have thus far been missing from any media reports. The media are clearly hesitant to use freedom of information documents which they themselves did not acquire. The zoo veterinary staff and others at the zoo were censored by City Council and prevented from sharing officially with the media why they had concerns about tuberculosis at PAWS. You have only been given the Pro PAWS side of the story. This is how council wanted it.

As citizens and rightful owners of the Toronto Zoo elephants we had a right to know what the vets concerns were and why. Council ensured that the legal rights of PAWS were catered to while ours were denied. We still own these elephants. PAWS claimed legal obligations to previous owners of the deceased elephants in question to aid in the censorship of this information.

Our vets reviewed the necropsy reports of the 2 most recently deceased African elephants at PAWS, Ruby and 71. They found anomalies on both reports. In particular Ruby had a bronchial mass on one of her lungs. As tuberculosis would be found predominantly on the lungs at time of death the vets asked PAWS for tissue culture reports on these two elephants. PAWS and Zoocheck claimed they had given the zoo everything and had nothing more and at this time those reports are still outstanding. At that point there were some public legal threats from the PAWS/Zoocheck team. We conducted an extensive freedom of information search of all the USA agencies which would have these tissue cultures be they negative or positive for disease, USDA, California Fish and wildlife and California State Health Department. There was nothing. To the best of our knowledge these cultures were never done. As a result of council catering to PAWS needs only and ignoring the democratic rights of the people of this city you were never given an opportunity to review the vets findings. The findings which convinced them along with stacks of documented evidence that there is a risk for tuberculosis at PAWS. You were disallowed from knowing the truth and without an official statement or release of information from the zoo the media could not report on this. We had the facts. We did a reverse FOI to the University of Calgary. We were investigating the independent bio security report that Zoocheck commissioned and which council adopted over the due diligence of the Toronto Zoo. In that foi zoo vets explained to the individual who wrote the report. a Dr. Susan Cork (it was paid advocacy) about their necropsy findings for the African elephants. Without those tissue cultures we cannot be certain of the disease status of that herd. The diagnostics which PAWS claims clears that herd of disease failed to diagnose active TB in their Asian herd;  tuberculosis which killed one elephant and infected two others one of which is now TB+. The African elephant with the bronchial mass at time of death had a high risk history of exposure to this disease having lived with an Asian elephant previously at the LA Zoo which had lived with two other Asians, both of which died from TB. She was treated as a precautionary measure at the LA Zoo. Then she went on to live at PAWS in a shared barn where both Asians and elephants lived together for over five years before a second barn was built in 2009. She died March 2011.

The Dr. Cork Bio Security report which was commissioned by Zoocheck Canada failed to include very important information. There were multiple missing trunk wash results in particular for the deceased African elephant Ruby but more importantly it failed to indicate that there had been human transmission of the disease at the sanctuary. Yes, someone got it and converted to the active form of the disease in the spring of 2012. When we did a FOI to access the genotyping for active cases of TB in Calaveras county (PAWS county) we received the two results. Both had the same genotype. The genotype actually matched another elephant other than the documented TB strains at PAWS. the elephant was Calle who had never lived at PAWS. It was clear and evident through logical deduction that one of the cases of human tuberculosis in the county was the case at PAWS evidenced in our FOI of emal correspondence between th PAWS vet and California State health. Calle (deceased TB+) did live with two Asian elephants, one died from TB and the other was the Asian Gita which went on to live with Ruby at the LA Zoo and then Ruby went on to live at PAWs and when she died PAWS did not have tissue cultures done on a bronchial mass found on her lung at time of necropsy. Are you getting it yet?

Consider these factors:

Three months before the zoo announces it is phasing out the elephant exhibit the source Asian elephant in PAWS outbreak dies. They indicate in foi that they had no idea she was even TB+ until after she dies and as a result wore no protective gear.

Three months after this death the African Ruby dies and it appears PAWS chooses not to have important tissue cultures done on a bronchial mass found on her lung

They knew full well they would be lobbying for the Toronto Zoo elephants at this time in fact their lobby began around 2009. Instead of having tissue cultures done to ensure the African herd is 100% clear of disease they choose not to? Why?

By summer of 2011 PAWS knows that two other Asians have been exposed and they show reactions on an early detector test called the STATPAK.

In the summer of 2011 a visiting sanctuary owner from Thailand notes in his blog that he witnessed masks and gloves being used in the barn for an Asian bull named Sabu indicating full quarantine. Sabu dies in January of 2013. PAWS and Zoocheck claim he died from euthanasia due to arthritis. Despite USDA documents which say he was TB+ at time of death they still make this claim.

In the Fall of 2011 Toronto Council seizes control of our elephants and make claims that there is no TB at PAWS

Councillors, PAWS and Zoocheck claim in the media that there is no TB at PAWS and that no elephant has ever died from TB at PAWS even though they know full well Rebecca died TB+ the previous January.

In the Fall of 2011 the director of the Detroit Zoo sends a letter of support for PAWS to the Zoo’s CEO, in it he indicates that there was on site transmission of TB at PAWS in 2011. This information is never made public. The zoo CEO knew about a tuberculosis outbreak and either refused to share this information with the public or was ordered not to by Councillors.

So at a time when animal rights activists and Councillors were attacking our zoo and maligning staff for opposing PAWS on the grounds of tuberculosis Council had evidence that the zoo staff concerns were not unfounded, that it was true.

In April of 2012 citizens accessed Freedom of Information Documents (FOI) proving here had been an outbreak of disease at the sanctuary and proving that all those involved with supporting PAWS had lied about it.

Our Freedom of Information evidence from Toronto City Hall indicates that Councillors DeBaeremaker and Berardinetti colluded with Zoocheck to malign and disparage the staff in the media. Zoocheck would spoon feed Councillors statements to make about the staff. They also were fed statements to malign the AZA when we lost our accreditation.

You have not been told the truth. The evidence which supports the Zoo vets concerns about tuberculosis has been purposefully censored by City Council in an effort to expedite the transfer of our elephants to what experts believe in an inappropriate facility which represents a risk to their health and welfare. As a citizen, zoo patron or zoo member you had a right to that information. Council chose the rights of PAWS over your rights! Because they knew you would support the scientific evidence and zoological expertise. They have the world convinced that this was nothing more than the AZA bullying a poor little sanctuary. Well that poor little sanctuary is aligned with an animal rights coalition which represents millions and millions of dollars. You were not told the truth and there is a risk of tuberculosis in the African herd at PAWS.

Rebecca and Sabu both had active TB 10 years before it recrudesced and they died. It took ten years for the disease to secretly eat away at their bodies. Latent TB is hard to diagnose and once an animal has it despite treatment they have it for life. It can reappear at any time. Another elephant which was documented in our research died at another facility 8 years after initial diagnosis and treatment. This disease has a 1-20 year incubation period. Why are we taking this risk with our elephants? Because you didn’t know the truth and if you had been told the truth you would have fought this transfer.

There is a high risk for tuberculosis exposure within the African herd at PAWS. And council chose to cater to their anti-zoo animal rights ideology over the true health and welfare of our elephants. They can no longer be trusted to make decisions about the health and welfare of animals at our zoo and Councillor DeBaeremaker as a zoo board member has betrayed us all. He must be removed from our board and the only way to make this happen is with your active support and you voice!

A few more important factors to note:

2009 IDA claim Toronto Zoo is one of the worst zoos for elephants in North America (IDA’s former director now works for PAWS)
2009 – PAWS also makes statements publicly about Toronto Zoo elephants

their campaign for our elephants had begun

Fall 2010
John Tracogna is hired as new CEO of Toronto Zoo
His first order of business is to hire a consulting firm to assess the long term viability of the African elephant exhibit at the zoo. Multiple deaths had occurred at the zoo in recent years and facility upgrades were badly needed.
Comparatively 6 elephants died at PAWS sanctuary in 4 years.

January 2011
PAWS ARK2000 – Rebecca a female Asian elephant dies
Lab reports sent after necropsy show she was TB+
FOI indicates that the sanctuary staff and vet team did not know she was TB+ until after she died
No protective gear was worn by staff
Three other Asian females are exposed

March 2011
PAWS ARK2000 – Ruby a female African elephant dies
No cause of death is ever determined. Ruby had high risk history of exposure to TB at all her former facility homes including the LA Zoo where she had been treated as a precautionary measure due to exposure to a female Asian elephant whose two former herd mates had both died of tuberculosis. No tissue samples are sent to be cultured for disease. USDA TB Management Guideline strongly suggest that all deceased elephants have cultures done at time of death. Claiming to have the best disease protocols  in the world why wouldn’t PAWS have these cultures done?

May 2011
Toronto Zoo board decides to phase out its elephant exhibit and re-home their elephants. They lay out a series of criteria including no facilities which use elephant hooks or free contact and no facilities on the west coast due to the logistics for transport AND no facilities with previous or current issues with tuberculosis. The Tennessee Sanctuary is ruled out early on due to their past history with a TB outbreak in 2009. Council then chooses to maintain adversity to limited use of elephant hook at National Elephant Centre (used in calving to protect calves) but is willing to overlook disease and inhumane transport. They were willing to do anything to continue to cater to their anti zoo ideology.

By June of 2011 Two of the Asian female elephants exposed to Rebecca’s TB test positive on early TB detector test STATPAK. At the time this information had not been made public

July 2011 A visiting sanctuary owner Karl Cullen (now deceased) writes in his blog about his trip to PAWS. He indicates that the PAWS staff was wearing full protective gear, masks and gloves when working a bull Asian elephant named Sabu. This would indicate the presence of disease. Sabu tested positive and was treated for TB in 1999-2001. He came from Ringling Brothers Circus as a result of a legal settlement between PAWS and RLB.

August 2011 City councillors MB and Cho visit PAWS
Sanctuary councillors and Zoocheck Canada deny the presence of any TB or TB deaths at the sanctuary when zoo staff and citizens raise concerns about tuberculosis

October 2011 Toronto City council rules in a motion without notice that the elephants are city assets and seize control over decision making regarding their future home. Without any due diligence or official expert site visits they choose PAWS over the zoos choice the yet to be built but now completed National Elephant Centre. Council cites the limited use of elephant hooks for breeding and calving as their reasons for opposition against TNEC.

Fall 2011 Detroit zoo director sends letter of recommendation for PAWS to Zoo CEO and indicates in his letter that there had been on site transmission of tuberculosis at PAWS in 2011. CEO does not make this public
December 2011 Zoo staff visit the sanctuary, their site visit report is never made public FOI accessed the report in the summer of 2013. Report indicates multiple concerns about bio security protocols and zoo staff are only allowed to review 2 out of the 5 barns

January 2012
Sabu the bull elephant at PAWS dies. PAWS claims he dies from severe arthritis, euthanasia due to severe arthritis actually.
February 2012 Zoo signs legal agreement with PAW sanctuary despite the zoo vets concerns over TB at PAWS.

April 2012
FOI is made public includes necropsy reports and lab reports for Sabu and Rebecca confirming they died TB+. Sanctuary Councillors and Zoocheck claim they had “old” TB infections which were not contagious
More FOI is accessed which proves that there was on site transmission, Rebecca infected two other elephants. One of those is Annie with no previous history of exposure to TB except at PAWS. She converts to active TB June 2012.
The PAWS coalition claims African herd is safe but zoo vets demand to review health records of deceased African elephants. PAWS objects but finally relinquishes the medical documents but claim legal agreements with previous owners so that the findings cannot be made public.
FOI with the University of Calgary eventually accesses the Toronto zoo vets findings in those reports. One observation they found was that the deceased African elephants Ruby and 71 had no tissue cultures done upon necropsy. Ruby’s necropsy indicates she had a bronchial mass on her lung at time of death, 71 had…? The vets ask for the tissue cultures and PAWS claims they have no more medical documents to give. FOI requests done by citizens confirms that the tissue cultures do not exist and were never done.
Zoo vets consider the due diligence to be incomplete. The Executive Committee makes recommendation to send the vote back to council to determine if PAWS is the best facility for the elephants.

Zoocheck Canada hires Dr Susan Cork from the University of Calgary to do an independent infectious disease report on the PAWS sanctuary. FOI indicates she is financially compensated for her work. The report relies solely on the information provided to her by PAWS. Zoocheck claims to Dr Cork that the report is on behalf of Toronto City council, no record exists of any official request from any councillor or city of Toronto official for this report.
Councillor Berardinetti submits the report to Nov 25, 2012 council meeting one hr prior to discussions on the elephant transfer issue. Zoo staff is given less than 45 minutes to review the report. The report is misrepresented to council as entirely the work of Dr Susan Cork, eventual foi and a public statement from the University of Calgary indicate that in fact multiple pages inserted into the report were not the work of Dr Cork or anyone at the university of Calgary
Toronto Council adopts this report over the due diligence of the Toronto zoo despite evidence in the report of multiple missing trunk wash data results for both Asians and Africans at paws just prior to and during the time of their outbreak. Report fails to include the case of human transmission of the disease at PAWS, actually claims there was none.

All of the above statements are evidenced in our Freedom of information documents. As citizens of this city and zoo members we have no motive other than the health and welfare of our elephants. We have committed our time and our own money to fight this and to gather this information for the people of Toronto. We have no reasons to lie to you. This is the truth as we have documented it.



Demand that the information that has been censored about tuberculosis concerns be made public. It is our right to know the truth, these are our elephants and this is our zoo!


Councillor Doug Ford supports this transfer and could care less about the risks to our elephant’s lives. He sees the zoo as gravy and supports allowing animal rights groups to dismantle our zoo. tell him how you feel about that.



The Zoo CEO and Zoo Board chair said nothing, did nothing to defend the zoo and its staff and they did not fight to have the truth about vets TB concerns made public. They in fact aided in withholding information from YOU. Tell them how you feel about that


Zoo Board email address. Your concerns will be made public record





These Councillors led the charge in favour of PAWS Sanctuary and the recent motions at council to allow animal rights groups to dictate the future of our zoo. Let them know how you feel about this!







Ask the media why they never published the evidence indicated in official FOI documents so that the people of this city could know the truth! You can find your councillor’s contact information here And ask why City Councillors and Zoocheck were never called out for their LIES!

Feel free to publish your emails at https://www.facebook.com/HelpTorontoZoo

PAWS elephant training/transport Company and the Dolphin Slaughters of Taiji

Slaughtering dolphins in Taiji, Japan

Slaughtering dolphins in Taiji, Japan

Slaughtering innocent dolphins in the name of greed

Slaughtering innocent dolphins in the name of greed

PAWS, Active Environments, JV China and Ocean Adventures – The Disturbing Connection

Active Environments was hired by PAWS and Zoocheck to handle the transport of the Toronto Zoo elephants to PAWS Sanctuary. Claiming this inhumane 4200km transport to a facility with proven tuberculosis risks is some altruistic act of animal welfare Council and  the Zoo board and ignore the hypocrisy of working with a  company connected to the horrific Taiji, Japan slaughter of dolphins for the marine entertainment industry. Zoocheck lobbies against Marineland here in Ontario but ignores the connections of Active Environment to an issue of captivity they ideologically oppose.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) uses the services of Active Environments (www.activeenvironments.org), an animal behaviour consulting firm, to aid it with respect to training personnel in the use of protected contact to care for its elephants (www.pawsweb.org/protected_contact.html and www.activeenvironments.org/pdf/AE_Resume_Elephant_06.pdf). The firm has provided consulting services to a number of institutions that are members of the AZA concerning the implementation of protected contact management of elephants including the Detroit Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, the Calgary Zoo, the Dallas Zoo, and the Woodland Park Zoo; a representative list of Active Environment’s clients can be found at www.activeenvironments.org/pdf/AE_Resume_Elephant_06.pdf. The first two Zoos mentioned above have transferred their elephants to PAWS and closed their elephant exhibits under pressure from animal welfare activists. The last three Zoos have been criticized by activists and urged to transfer their elephants to a sanctuary.

A review of Active Environments client list, services and business relationships have raised some troubling issues. Although there are no allegations of improprieties, this information nevertheless gives rise to some serious questions that may merit attention by animal welfare advocates. Among the organizations for which Active Environments has provided consulting services on positive reinforcement training techniques are a number of biomedical laboratories; they include University of Texas MD, Anderson Cancer Center in Science Park Texas, FDA Primate Unit in Maryland, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in Texas, National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Yerkes Regional Primate Center in Georgia, and University of California at Berkley (see www.activeenvironments.org/pdf/AE_Resume_BehMgt_06.pdf and www.activeenvironments.org/pdf/AE_Workshops_Resume_06.pdf). According to an article entitled “Chimpanzees Trained To Cooperate With Animal Care” that appeared in the Cambridge Center for Behavioural Studies (www.behavior.org/resources/485.pdf) chimpanzees at the University of Texas MD Anderson Center Chimpanzee Housing Facility were trained to provide urine samples on cue, present various body parts voluntarily for examination (e.g., present a wounded finger for treatment, and open the mouth for inspection of teeth and throat), cooperate with hypodermic injections, safely have blood samples drawn, and enter a transport cage for shifting from one enclosure to another in collaboration with Active Environments. While it is laudable to work to improve the conditions of animals in biomedical laboratories, the relationship nevertheless is troublesome from an appearance perspective.

However, there are even more problematic relationships involving the officers of Active Environments, Tim Desmond, Gail Laule and Timothy J.Desmond and two other companies, JV China Inc and Ocean Adventure, in which some or all of them are officers (see Corporation Wiki at:  www.corporationwiki.com/California/Lompac/active-environments-inc/41115279.aspx; www.corporationwiki.com/California/Lompac/jv-china-inc-6032801.aspx; and http://savephilippineseas.com/2011/07/01/ocean-misadventure/).

Sorting out these relationships is difficult due to references in the media to a “Tim Desmond” when discussing these companies which make it unclear whether the reference is to Tim Desmond, President of Active Environments, or Timothy J. Desmond who according to Corporation Wiki was Secretary and Treasurer of Active Environments, and President of JV China, Inc. JV China Inc (JV China) was organized to act as a partner in joint ventures with Chinese companies to design, construct and manage aquariums in China featuring trained marine mammals. In 2000 JV China was involved in a contractual dispute involving its partner in the Beijing Aquarium concerning the safety and ownership of marine mammals provided to the Aquarium under the terms of a 6 year $11 million contract. The dispute is described in an article in the New York Times, which may be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/03/world/at-a-beijing-aquarium-dolphins-are-hostages.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm, and an article appearing in the Peoples Daily at: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/english/200004/17/eng20000417_39082.html.

The marine mammals were captured in 1999 during drive hunts in Taiji,Japan. These hunts are described in graphic detail in a report prepared by WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, entitled “Driven by Demand: Dolphin Hunts in Japan and the Involvement of the Aquarium Industry” (http://www.wdcs.org/submissions_bin/drivenbydemand.pdf; a copy of the report may also be found at http://www.zoocheck.com/Reportpdfs/DriveHunt%20report%20WDCS%2006.pdf). Dolphins and false killer whales are corralled in Japan and captured for use in the aquarium industry; those animals that are not sold to the aquarium industry are killed and eaten. Notably Zoocheck Canada campaigns against marine mammals in captivity, its related entertainment industry and the wild capture industry but also works with PAWS on campaigns against zoos and circuses on behalf of elephant and animal welfare.

The Cove

The Cove

According to the report prepared by WDCS, the animals formerly displayed at the Beijing Aquarium were exported to the Philippines for display at Ocean Adventure, an aquarium in Subic Bay which offers marine mammal shows as well as the opportunity for visitors to engage in animal encounters including swimming and diving with dolphins (see: www.oceanadventure.com.ph and http://www.oceanadventure.com.ph/animalencounters.html). Detailed information on the animals that were captured in the drive hunts in Japan and exported to Ocean Adventures appears on pages 21 through 23 of the WDCS report. Information may also be found in a blog posted by the Philippine NGO, Save the Philippine Seas, at:

www.savephilippineseas.com/2011/07/01/ocean-misadventure/, and in a report prepared by Singapore-based NGO, ACRES, with the support of the Earth Island Institute, entitled “Resorts World Sentosa’s Plans to House Wild-Caught Dolphins” (http://www.saddestdolphins.com/report/Acres%20-Resorts%20World’s%20Dolphins%20Report.pdf).

According to the report prepared by ACRES, dolphins captured in the Solomon Islands were purchased by Resorts World in 2009 and later sent to Ocean Adventure for training (see pages 9 and 26 through 27 of the report prepared by ACRES for more information including dates and places to which the animals were transferred).

Perhaps the most disturbing information with respect to the relationships between these companies and their activities is the description of Tim Desmond’s activities on behalf of Ocean Adventure in Taiji, Japan, and his statements in an interview with “BBC’s Undercover World: The Dolphin Hunters” in which Mr. Desmond describes himself as a conservationist because he is saving the dolphins from the hunter’s knives since if he did not purchase them, the dolphins would die.

Mr. Desmond is quoted as stating

“Every animal had a life expectancy of less than one day when we acquired them. These animals were either going to be taken alive or die.” (www.ecop.info/e-news/e-news-04-4qu.-6.htm); see also page 24 of the WDCS report (http://www.wdcs.org/submissions_bin/drivenbydemand.pdf) which quotes Mr. Desmond as stating in a letter to the Subic Bay Management Authority in December 2000:

“We went to Japan precisely because these were doomed animals …collection of our animals is a side-product. This was and is the lowest impact way to collect wild animals for public display. These are animals that have already been captured and are literally minutes from death.” WDCS goes on to state on that page: “It is WDCS’s opinion that this ‘rescue’ rationale to purchase cetaceans captured in drive hunts is misguided and belies the large sums of money paid by aquaria for individual whales and dolphins captured alive in the hunts”.

1000s die so toursits can do this?

1000s die so tourists can do this?

It goes without saying that the activities of JV China and Ocean Adventure as described in these reports and the BBC documentary contravene the beliefs of both animal rights activists and those who support zoos. The connection between these firms and Active Environments needs some explanation since it raises troublesome questions for anyone who is provided with animal behaviour consulting services by the firm.

Toronto City Council has used the use of bullhooks in AZA elephant programs across North America as a major argument regarding their opposition to the National Elephant Center, stating that in their opinion it is an “inhumane” practise, innately abusive. The bullhook issue has dominated the argument against TNEC. So if we are to take issue with AZA zoological facilities for a management practise Council deems inhumane then I feel we also need to consider ideologically the inhumane practises of Ocean Adventure/Active Environments with regard to their participation in what is considered to be a globally disgraceful and horrific act of brutality—the Japanese Dolphin Drive Hunts.

If we as a city and a zoo are going to sever our relationships with organizations such as AZA and CAZA because Councillors claim they represent cruelty then we also must sever our ties with Active Environments based on those same principals

So we are against “BULLHOOKS” but this is ok?bloodbath

Now that you are fully versed in this connection between Active Environments and Ocean Adventures in order to maintain consistency in this animal rights platform City Councillors have chosen to cloak themselves with in recent months it is only right and moral to consider any relationship with an

organization which participates in these drive hunts immoral and not in keeping with the animal welfare platforms of both our zoo and our city. If not then I imagine we must reconsider our stance on facilities which utilize bullhooks.

This would also appear to be the mandate of our zoo board which based on the no bullhook criteria laid out regarding the transfer of our elephants is also against any form of unnecessary animal cruelty. Purchasing marine mammals from the Japanese Drive hunts is clearly the worst kind of animal cruelty imaginable. As a citizen I take offense to this organization having anything to do with our zoo and our elephants. I don’t think I need to explain the hypocrisy of Council, PAWS and Zoocheck utilizing or supporting the services of this company. If all accredited AZA zoos are going to be considered by council as substandard or abusive as a result of their connections to the AZA or the use of bullhooks then by that same logic AE should also be judged for their connections and direct business affiliations via Ocean Adventures with this dolphin slaughter as it is far more cruel than any bullhook could ever be.

Take Action: STOP the Inhumane Transport of Toronto Zoo elephants

Please review the background Story





80+hrs in a truck is inhumane, it exceeds all laws and regulations both in Canada and the United States for the humane transport of animals. This is an abuse of political power. This is animal abuse in the name of animal rights extremism. These elephants could die in transport.

You can contact:

Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 613-995-7080 Email: Ritz.G@parl.gc.ca

Please send copies to the agriculture critics:

Hon. Wayne Easter, Liberal Agriculture Critic 318 Justice Building, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 613-995-7408 Email: EasteW@parl.gc.ca

Mr. Alex Atamanenko, NDP Agriculture Critic House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 613-943-0922 Email: AtamaA@parl.gc.ca

Mr. André Bellavance, Bloc Québécois Agriculture Critic House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 613-995-2026 Email: BellaA@parl.gc.ca


Toronto Mayor Ford mayor_ford@toronto.ca
Toronto Zoo Board zoobd@toronto.ca
Zoo CEO jtracogna@torontozoo.ca

Email Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, agsec@usda.gov
(RE: Toronto Zoo Elephants Dear Secretary Vilsack)

Oh the hypocrisy! Animal rights and their ever changing agendas


From the International Business Times

September 25, 2013

How ironic and utterly hypocritical that In Defense of Animal’s Nicole Meyer makes this claim in this article:

“Most zoos are unable to provide elephants with the space and social dynamics that they need to thrive,” Meyer said. “There are some zoos out there that do a better job, and we acknowledge that. But in general, elephants are earth’s largest land mammal. They need space. They need exercise to stay healthy. They need to be with a multi generational herd in order to socialize properly.”

Multi generational herd at National Elephant Center This was too be Toronto Zoo elephants new family

Multi generational herd at National Elephant Center
This was too be Toronto Zoo elephants new familygenerational herd in order to socialize properly.”


It is ironic as this is impossible to accomplish at either of the two elephant sanctuaries in the United States. Neither can provide multi generational family groups because they do not believe in breeding. I guess the needs of captive elephants simply changes according to whatever the current agenda of these anti zoo organizations is.

No mention of course from Meyers of the newly completed National Elephant Centre which provides everything a sanctuary can provide and more. The National Elephant Center can provide family groups with elephants of all ages.

TNEC is 225 acres and counting

TNEC is 225 acres and counting

More from the Business Time article “Ultimately, the disagreement is less about scientific method than two competing ideologies: Should elephants be kept in zoos or do they belong in natural-habitat refuges — like the 2,700-acre Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.? Animal-rights groups say the latter choice clearly provides elephants with an environment that more closely simulates their natural habitat, but Meehan insists that criticizing zoo facilities based on comparisons to the wild is a faulty argument, one fraught with complexities that have yet to be scientifically studied.”

Mother and child living happily at the National Elephant Center

Mother and child living happily at the National Elephant Center

The only thing these sanctuaries can offer which simulates the lives of elephants in the wild is more space than zoos. However that too is changing and TNEC is the model for the future of elephants in North American Zoos.

Even Jane Goodall says here in this letter to the AZA that space is not the only or overriding factor for happy healthy elephants in captivity. She wrote this letter to clarify her original letter supporting the move of the Toronto Zoo elephants to PAWS. Activist groups took her original letter and used it to lobby that she was against elephants in zoos. We contacted JGI to ask her how she could support sending the Toronto Zoo 3 to PAWS considering the seriousness of the tuberculosis on site. They admitted to us that they had not followed up and that they had no idea the elephants had not left Toronto yet. We supplied them with all the FOIA and documented evidence and never heard back from them.

She says:

” What is important is that all of us who care should work together to ensure they recieve the best possible care. Every situation is different – not just the facility itself, but the life history, personality and health of the individual elephants. Decisions about their lives must be based on careful consideration of ALL factors. Space can be important to these large animals but there are other things to consider when evaluating a zoo or a sanctuary. The quality of space, enrichment activities to alleviate boredom and the expertise, integrity and compassion of the animal care professionals working with these magnificent animals is crucial to their well being.”

“Elephants in good zoos can serve as goodwill ambassadors and help inspire more people, young and old, to care about and support elephant conservation and, when necessary improve the lives of those living in less good captive situations. If we can accomplish all these things then we can truly make a difference for the quality of life for elephants around the world.”

Back to the news article, Meyer goes on to say:

“Meyer was not impressed. She said many of the initial findings presented at the conference simply confirmed what animal-rights groups have been saying all along — including the need for softer substrates and a correlation between improved body condition and increased exercise. What’s more, she worries that the zoo industry will attempt to use the research a way of validating its own practices, thereby giving it a convenient excuse to, at best, make a few marginal changes and, at worst, conduct business as usual.”

hmmm I will just let the pictures speak for themselves on this matter. PAWS offers 80 acres for its elephants, how come they are so FAT?! Could it be that enrichment and keeper led exercise and health regimes actually have value? Even more so than just wandering around a habitat all day on display for high paying visitors and celebrities?

PAWS vs Toronto Zoo

PAWS vs Toronto Zoo

weight compares Asian Zoo vs Asian PAWS

weight compares Asian Zoo vs Asian PAWS

What bothers me the most about this is that the media never takes the next logical step, they never line up these animal rights agendas and media statements side by side to evidence the sheer arrogant hypocrisy of it all.

More from Meyers

“It becomes difficult to carry on conversations because there are different goals and different perspectives,” she said.

“The challenge that elephants face in captivity and zoo environments are extreme,” she said. “The thing that will never change for elephants in captivity is that they’re in captivity.”

FYI Ms. Meyers they are in captivity in a sanctuary too. Animal rights groups make their living off animal suffering. Without it they have no jobs, nothing to define themselves with. They never work with zoos cooperatively to improve conditions for animals and they are NEVER satisfied with improvements. Their only mandate is to close zoos and they are happy it seems to allow what they perceive as suffering to continue while they spew statements to the media and run their campaigns. Funny how they never campaign for all the other animals in zoos as they accuse zoos of profiting from elephants motivated by greed. I would accuse these animal rights groups of the same offence and most certainly the same motivations with a little power hunger tossed in for good measure.