Yes we hear this a lot from animal rights activists who lobby against zoos. One of the catchy catch phrases carefully formulated by the large animal rights groups who lead the army of zoo haters. But really, lets get a little perspective shall we.
Anti zoo organizations spend millions and millions AND MILLIONS of dollars on ad campaigns, lawyers and political lobbying to “save” the approximately 450 captive elephants in North America from what they claim are “prisons”, cruel horrible places. And you see the comment “let them be in the wild” so often that for those of us who understand how well cared for and important elephants in zoos are it is almost enough to make one sick to their stomach.
The wild? Last year almost 40,000 wild elephants were poached for their ivory. Ivory used to fund terrorist activities and wars. How soon do you think we will be able to stop that? Yet millions of dollars are spent lobbying on behalf 450 captive elephants and what represents about 1% of the total number of elephants which were slaughtered last year alone. Perhaps the life of an elephant in a zoo is not as horrible as you want to believe or have been led to believe. And perhaps imagine for a moment what those millions of dollars could do to protect wild elephants by funding counter poaching units. Maybe the time right now is to come together to stop this madness and then you can get back to your business of fighting against zoos. Just listen to the sound of elephants being killed by poachers.
Maybe next time you are about to write “let them be in the wild where they belong” you will remember these chilling sounds and be grateful that there are people and facilities around the globe committed to making people care more about the plight of wild elephants.
FUND ANTI-POACHING NOT ANTI-ZOO
We think this article sums up the anti-zoo sentiment to a “T”
[The Hoaxer Project Report, pp. 39-41]
Robert F. Kennedy wrote:
“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”
In analyzing the rhetoric and propaganda of several hundred militant “fringe” political and social groups across the political spectrum, I have identified a number of specific traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist “style”…
1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.
Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, mental health, and so on as a diversion from the issues under consideration. Some of these matters are not entirely irrelevant , but they should not serve to avoid the real issues.
Extremists object strenuously when this is done to them, of course!
2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.
Extremists are quick to resort to epithets (racist, subversive, pervert, hate monger, nut, crackpot, degenerate, un-American, anti-semite, red, commie, nazi, kook, fink, liar, bigot, and so on) to label and condemn opponents in order to divert attention from their arguments and to discourage others from hearing them out. These epithets don’t have to be proved to be effective; the mere fact that they have been said is often enough.
3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.
Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments on little or no evidence, and they have a tendency to confuse similarity with sameness. That is, they assume that because two (or more) things, events, or persons are alike in some respects, they must be alike in most respects. The sloppy use of analogy is a treacherous form of logic and has a high potential for false conclusions.
4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.
Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof, and they also tend to get caught up in logical fallacies, such as post hoc ergo propter hoc (assuming that a prior event explains a subsequent occurrence simply because of their before and after relationship). They tend to project wished-for conclusions and to exaggerate the significance of information that confirms their beliefs while derogating or ignoring information that contradicts them. They tend to be motivated by feelings more than facts, by what they want to exist rather than what actually does exist. Extremists do a lot of wishful and fearful thinking.
5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.
Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view very generously, and others by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours. They tend to engage in special pleading on behalf of themselves or their interests, usually because of some alleged special status, past circumstances, or present disadvantage.
6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS ASESSENTIALLY EVIL.
To the extremist, opponents hold opposing positions because they are bad people, immoral, dishonest, unscrupulous, mean-spirited, hateful, cruel, or whatever, not merely because they simply disagree, see the matter differently, have competing interests, or are perhaps even mistaken.
7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.
Extremists have a tendency to see the world in terms of absolutes of good and evil, for them or against them, with no middle ground or intermediate positions. All issues are ultimately moral issues of right and wrong, with the “right” position coinciding with their interests. Their slogan is often “those who are not with me are against me.”
8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP ORREPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.
This may include a very active campaign to keep opponents from media access and a public hearing, as in the case of blacklisting, banning or “quarantining” dissident spokespersons. They may actually lobby for legislation against speaking, writing, teaching, or instructing “subversive” or forbidden information or opinions. They may even attempt to keep offending books out of stores or off of library shelves, discourage advertising with threats of reprisals, and keep spokespersons for “offensive” views off the airwaves or certain columnists out of newspapers. In each case the goal is some kind of information control. Extremists would prefer that you listen only to them. They feel threatened when someone talks back or challenges their views.
9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIRENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.
Accordingly, extremists may become emotionally bound to their opponents, who are often competing extremists themselves. Because they tend to view their enemies as evil and powerful, they tend, perhaps subconsciously, to emulate them, adopting the same tactics to a certain degree. For example, anti-Communist and anti-Nazi groups often behave surprisingly like their opponents. Anti-Klan rallies often take on much of the character of the stereotype of Klan rallies themselves, including the orgy of emotion, bullying, screaming epithets, and even acts of violence. To behave the opposite of someone is to actually surrender your will to them, and “opposites” are often more like mirror images that, although they have “left” and “right” reversed, look and behave amazingly alike.
10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.
Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into accepting their premises and conclusions. To disagree with them is to “ally oneself with the devil,” or to give aid and comfort to the enemy. They use a lot of moralizing and pontificating, and tend to be very judgmental. This shrill, harsh rhetorical style allows them to keep their opponents and critics on the defensive, cuts off troublesome lines of argument, and allows them to define the perimeters of debate.
11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPINGCLICHES.
For many extremists shortcuts in thinking and in reasoning matters out seem to be necessary in order to avoid or evade awareness of troublesome facts and compelling counter-arguments. Extremists generally behave in ways that reinforce their prejudices and alter their own consciousness in a manner that bolsters their false confidence and sense of self-righteousness.
12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVEROTHERS.
Most obvious would be claims of general racial or ethnic superiority–a master race, for example. Less obvious are claims of ennoblement because of alleged victimhood, a special relationship with God, membership in a special “elite” or “class,” and a kind of aloof “highminded” snobbishness that accrues because of the weightiness of their preoccupations, their altruism, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves (and others) to their cause. After all, who can bear to deal with common people when one is trying to save the world! Extremists can show great indignation when one is “insensitive” enough to challenge these claims.
13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.
Extremists often predict dire or catastrophic consequences from a situation or from failure to follow a specific course, and they tend to exhibit a kind of “crisis-mindedness.” It can be a Communist takeover, a Nazi revival, nuclear war, earthquakes, floods, or the wrath of God. Whatever it is, it’s just around the corner unless we follow their program and listen to the special insight and wisdom, to which only the truly enlightened have access. For extremists, any setback or defeat is the “beginning of the end!”
14. BELIEF THAT IT’S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A “GOOD” CAUSE.
Extremists may deliberately lie, distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics, engage in censorship or repression , or undertake violence in “special cases.” This is done with little or no remorse as long as it’s in the service of defeating the Communists or Fascists or whomever. Defeating an “enemy” becomes an all-encompassing goal to which other values are subordinate. With extremists, the end justifies the means.
15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TOREASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.
Extremists have an unspoken reverence for propaganda, which they may call “education” or “consciousness-raising.” Symbolism plays an exaggerated role in their thinking, and they tend to think imprecisely and metamorphically. Harold D. Lasswell, in his book, *Psychopathology and Politics*, says, “The essential mark of the agitator is the high value he places on the emotional response of the public.” Effective extremists tend to be effective propagandists. Propaganda differs from education in that the former teaches one what to think, and the latter teaches one how to think.
16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.
Extremists perceive hostile innuendo in even casual comments; imagine rejection and antagonism concealed in honest disagreement and dissent; see “latent” subversion, anti-semitism, perversion, racism, disloyalty, and so on in innocent gestures and ambiguous behaviors. Although few extremists are clinically paranoid, many of them adopt a paranoid style with its attendant hostility and distrust.
17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS ANDACTIONS.
Some extremists, particularly those involved in “cults” or extreme religious movements, such as fundamentalist Christians, militant Zionist extremists, and members of mystical and metaphysical organizations, claim some kind of supernatural rationale for their beliefs and actions, and that their movement or cause is ordained by God. In this case, stark extremism may become reframed in a “religious” context, which can have a legitimizing effect for some people. It’s surprising how many people are reluctant to challenge religiously motivated extremism because it represents “religious belief” or because of the sacred-cow status of some religions in our culture.
18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.
Indeed, the ideologies and belief systems to which extremists tend to attach themselves often represent grasping for certainty in an uncertain world, or an attempt to achieve absolute security in an environment that is naturally unpredictable or perhaps populated by people with interests opposed to their own. Extremists exhibit a kind of risk-aversiveness that compels them to engage in controlling and manipulative behavior, both on a personal level and in a political context, to protect themselves from the unforeseen and unknown. The more laws or “rules” there are that regulate the behavior of others–particular their “enemies”–the more secure extremists feel.
19. INCLINATION TOWARD “GROUPTHINK.”
Extremists, their organizations , and their subcultures are prone to a kind of inward-looking group cohesiveness that leads to what Irving Janis discussed in his excellent book Victims of Groupthink. “Groupthink” involves a tendency to conform to group norms and to preserve solidarity and concurrence at the expense of distorting members’ observations of facts, conflicting evidence, and disquieting observations that would call into question the shared assumptions and beliefs of the group.
Right-wingers (or left-wingers), for example, talk only with one another, read material that reflects their own views, and can be almost phobic about the “propaganda” of the “other side.” The result is a deterioration of reality-testing, rationality, and moral judgment. With groupthink, shared illusions of righteousness, superior morality, persecution, and so on remain intact, and those who challenge them are viewed with skepticism and hostility.
20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.
Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their “enemies,” and celebrate when it occurs. When a critic or an adversary dies or has a serious illness, a bad accident, or personal legal problems, extremists often rejoice and chortle about how they “deserved” it. I recall seeing right-wing extremists celebrate the assassination of Martin Luther King and leftists agonizing because George Wallace survived an assassination attempt. In each instance their hatred was not only directed against ideas, but also against individual human beings.
21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.
For example, if they lose an election, then it was “rigged.” If public opinion turns against them, it was because of “brainwashing.” If their followers become disillusioned, it’s because of “sabotage.” The test of the rightness or wrongness of the system is how it impacts upon them…
Interesting how PAWS allows people to believe that the condition Thika arrived at PAWS in is somehow the condition she left Toronto in. Are you people so media illiterate that you cannot search pictures of Thika before she left the zoo? Another black mark against our CEO John Tracogna who allows this disparagement of our zoo to continue without taking a stand on behalf of our zoo and speaking out. It is time for Mr. Tracogna to move on. Thika was in perfect health when she left, what you saw after she arrived is a result of 71 hrs road transport, 84hrs in a crate, speeding trucks and burned out brakes, egos and arrogance racing to make press conferences and denying her long time keepers to remain on site for more than 6 hrs. She was traumatized, not by our zoo but by an inhumane road transport and pseudo animal welfare. If she dies 6 months from now how will you blame the zoo? Claim it was an underlying illness that our vets were too inept to diagnose?
Taken just a few weeks before she left. Does she look depressed and out of condition?
Lies, lies and more lies.
Tennessee is nice too? Coming soon, all about Sue the elephant. You can thank IDA and Durham Animal Rights for our new found interest in researching TES.
When you think of us, think of this….we are NEVER going away and we will NEVER stop exposing the truth. Ever.
Lets set the record straight since Toronto City Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who has never visited the Toronto zoo before seems to be implying on social media that our youngest Toronto Zoo elephant Thika was in some way not healthy before she left for PAWS.
And that Thika’s current condition is somehow a result of her life or care at the Toronto Zoo. Perhaps the Councillor is aiding PAWS in what appears to be some kind of cover up regarding the affects the 70hr inhumane road transport had on these elephants. There seem to be a lot of clues being laid out like little bread crumbs, and the PAWS supporters are lapping them up as per usual.
They arrived Sunday October 20 after a gruelling 84 hrs in their crates and 71 hrs on the road; we saw a video of the night of arrival where Toka had a pronounced limp where she never had a limp before.
Then we were given a few pics the first day, one set of pictures on October 24 followed by nothing of Thika for almost 5 days. The pictures posted on the 29th after even PAWS own supporters were asking questions and showing concern showed a sick and unhealthy Thika, dehydrated emaciated sad and withdrawn. PAWS posted that they were “building up her muscles”. Their supporters commented on how happy she looked? Pointing out how think our elephants appear one person even went so far as to imply that the Toronto Zoo didn’t feed them enough. Unbelievable we assume they have become so accustomed to looking at the obese elephants at PAWS that they don’t know a healthy animal from a sick one. They were surprisingly able to recognize that yes, the elephants were thin, beyond thin – dehydrated emaciated and appearing stressed out and confused.
When we saw Thika’s photos immediately our red flags went up on high alert. Well technically after almost 5 days of no pictures or video of Thika we were already concerned. We can only use links to photos as most certainly PAWS would be legally outraged by our use of their publicly available photo ops with our elephants. Feel free to review them then refer back to the pictures posted here of the girls before they left the zoo this past October.
Why would Thika need her muscles built up? She is just 33 years old and was in prime health before she left. Her condition had deteriorated over the 5 days not improved.
First day – video
Look at Iringa struggling to walk. Much of the PAWS supporters’ commentary discussed how frail and ill they looked and implied this was their condition at the zoo – if they were this frail and ill at the Toronto Zoo then what self respecting vet would have signed off on their Health for Transport certificates as PAWS vets for hire from the Oakland zoo did? According to a recent PR piece put out by PAWS lawyers they had the “best” elephant import specialist on the payroll…ok all well and good for you to parade to everyone that the transport was all on the up and up (that is of course relative and up for debate) but what the hell does a lawyer have to do with actual transport? And what 71hrs on the road can do to an animal? Unless they are lawyers/zoologists the post reeks of more foundation laying to weather a possible upcoming storm.
What qualifies this lawyer anyway?
“Bickelman, for his part, continues to check on the elephants, keeping tabs on their integration.”
“The elephants were transported in crates and if they had to spend an unexpected six or eight hours at a border, waiting for authorization and to clear customs, it could have been devastating for their overall health.”
Funny, it doesn’t mention that in fact they did spend an extra 4 hours at the border and then another further 3hrs in Chicago where Fish and Game had to track them down to check CITES permits. If this law firm is so hotshot and expert how come they arranged for the transport to enter the USA through the wrong port of entry for the importation of animals?
Well at least they get to have a slice of the Glory Pie and as is the case be one of the elitists who are allowed to see actual elephants in North America. The rest of you poor peons will have to be satisfied with TV or Youtube.
Maybe they could put out another PR piece, one that mentions the elephants They were very, very cold throughout much if the journey not to mention stressed beyond anything else they have been through in their lives. Two of them are not walking right with their legs splayed out and Toka displayed a noticeable limp after transport where she never had one before and another (Thika) has noticeable weight loss and muscle loss not to mention for some reason seems to be kept separate from the rest of the herd she was born into- we have every right to be very concerned.
There are a few things that stand out in this little PR plug; the first is the term ‘the troubled Toronto Zoo’…does this imply financial trouble or trouble providing world class care for it’s animals as either insinuation would be incorrect and also inappropriate for a law firm to comment on when not actively arguing some kind of legal case. The second is that the lawyer felt the need to be on site when the elephants arrived, why? Just a bonus or some other reason? Thirdly is that it states only 1/2 million dollars were spent by Bob Barker and the rest was covered by PAWS, why then is the media telling the world Mr Barker spent a million bucks? What happened to all that money he promised, 880.00 grande to fly the elephants? The truck company was paid $40k and the crates cost $25k each, where the hell did the rest of that chaching go? Where or who did $825 thousand dollar go?
Then of course there is the ever classy Bob Barker, it must be so nice to just be able to buy elephants for your own personal pleasure while telling the rest of the world they don’t know how to appreciate them properly at a zoo, that we all simply exploit them. Exploitation is relative and up for debate on this matter.
“There were people all around us crying,” Barker says. “ ’Course, in some ways the ones who were crying most were those miserable zoo keepers from Toronto. We ended up laughing, and they ended up crying!” With the cameras rolling, Barker chuckles loudly at his joke.
I have a quote for Bob,
“The first step into pathology is the wilful subordination of the truth for the sake of an ideal.”
Another step into pathology might be when you act like a narcissistic arrogant asshole with no compassion and no ethics.
Because any elephant management professional or welfare activists who actually cared about animals would not have let their egos and arrogance deny the elephants the keepers they knew so well to stay on, even if only for a few days to help alleviate stress and with the adjustment to their new home. But then again these are the same people who separated Thika from her herd and family and left her behind when they burned out their truck brakes speeding to get to the sanctuary in time to have good enough daylight to film and make it to Bob’s press conference on time…because that was so much more important apparently than the health and well being of the elephants.
Here is Thika the summer of 2013, does she look at all like the pictures paws posted of her?
No she does not, why?
Thika was in prime health and condition before she left the Toronto Zoo, you would know this Councillor Berardinetti if you ever actually visited the zoo. Furthermore the vets for hire from the Oakland Zoo reviewed her health documents and signed off on her health for transport, if she had been in the poor condition she appears to be currently at PAWS they should not have signed off on her health for transport – but they did because she was HEALTHY. And why were those health certificates not submitted to Canadian federal agencies such as CFIA? Or to the zoo? Where are those certificates?
Why are you posting commentary like this on social media Councillor Berardinetti? A simple foi of the Toronto elephant’s health records prove your comments to be misleading and we feel misleading with a motive. We will post those full health records in the coming weeks.
And FYI regarding this post: Thika reaching over the “scary” electric fence
Does Thika look in any way shape or form “afraid” of the electric fences? Nope. Just another shining example of your ignorance. Fruthermore the PAWS keepers are breaking the Full Contact rules and promises made to the zoo as you can see in pictures posted at PAWS Facebook page keepers close enough to the girls to hand feed them.
Thika in the therapy pool? What PAWS likes to call the Jacuzzi despite the fact it has no jets or moving water or water heater, it is just a trough. But why would Thika need this? Look at her! My god what have they done to this elephant? This is what an unnecessary road transport in the name of extremist dogma looks like. (link to pic)
November 7 Thika
November 7 Iringa Toka Note Iringas sagging hind quarters
October 29 half dead
Thank god for PAWS that their supporters are complete religiously fanatical extremists and idiots because it is beyond any realm of reasoning how any one could look at those pictures and declare that these elephants look health or happy – they look F***** up.
Your propaganda Councillor reeks of aiding and abetting, laying a foundation in preparation for something.
But in preparation for what?
Capture Myopathy and other exertion related transport diseases can kill an animal over time. We see Thika going into the therapy pool and we ask ourselves why on earth would she need this? She was perfectly healthy at the Toronto Zoo. Why are YOU and the PAWS supporters not asking for the truth? To protect PAWS public image? What about animal welfare? What about the health and welfare of these elephants you claimed for almost three years to care so much about? The physical appearance of dehydration can be addressed but that will not reverse the affects of this disease.
Certainly Councillor Berardinetti is implying that the Toronto Zoo elephants never enjoyed the simple pleasures of a mud bath was completely ludicrous as pictures will evidence her ignorance but as she is preaching to the blind faith army of PAWS zealots she has a willing audience to boost her already inflated ego.
We think you are a home wrecker Councillor, destroying families in the name of what is best for Michelle and in this case, this time the family you have destroyed is our Toronto Zoo elephants and the family you seek to destroy next, the Toronto Zoo and its supporters have decided to fight back. Your allegiance and alliances to anti zoo organizations who supported and aided in this inhumane transfer and transport and your support of a misleading campaign strategy to convince people our elephants looked like Prisoners of War before they left our zoo and your infidelity as an elected official to the people of this city and a city owned agency will not be tolerated.
Now as for the simple issue of mud baths, Dear Ms Berardinetti our elephants dug mud holes and took mud baths all the time. Your constant little attacks against our zoo is an act of harassment against a city agency and city staff. You are aiding PAWS in laying the groundwork in case Thika dies, by setting up PAWS supporters to believe that she was not well before she left. Basically, you are a liar. And you are breaking Councillor Code of Conduct rules.
Here are a couple of examples just so you can be better informed before the next time you decide to slander our zoo:
You can see that Thikas health deteriorated after she arrived at PAWS. Look at her picture from media reports then compare her pics from just 4 days later where she looks even worse. October 29 http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/10/25/toronto_zoo_keepers_speak_out_about_trip_to_paws.html how is anyone looking at that these pics and thinking wow she looks great?
She was traumatized and mentally and physically broken after 70hrs of road transport and then to top it off egos and arrogance further put her at risk by having the Toronto keepers kicked out and not allowing them to stay and aid the elephants in their transition. Furthermore they were transported by a transport company with zero experience transporting animals and according to a DOT inspection report which was conducted en route the company Bell Cartage was not even registered or licensed to transport animals at the time they transported the elephants. They had never transported a single animal ever before let alone elephants. So who approved them as a transport company and how did they cross the border without these licences? Who was pulling what strings to make this happen?
Why did the brakes on Thika’s truck burn out? Was it because the trucks were speeding and racing to get to PAWS on the orders from the people running this freak show. We know that Toronto Zoo staff en route with you asked you to slow down out of concern for the elephants safety and you refused. Why were you speeding? To get to PAWS with enough light left to film the glorious arrival and victory and to make it in time for Bob’s press conference? Zoocheck officials and others raced ahead with Toka and Iringa leaving Thika behind…separating her from her herd. No self respecting elephant transport or elephant management company would have sped through the Donner Pass of all places with its history of destroying braking systems let alone with a full load of African elephants already 70hrs into a transport. Imagine the braking inertia powerful enough to blow out those brakes? Imagine now an elephant chained and weak and tired and the force she must have felt being thrust forward to the sights and sounds of screeching and smoking brakes only to see the only family she has ever known drive off into the California sunset leaving her behind?
How could she know she would see them again in just one hours time? And no self respecting elephant management professional would have allowed the herd to be separated, but I guess if they had been going to the National Elephant centre the primary goal on the last of what would have been a short two day road trip would not have been media coverage and celebrity press conferences. Total ignorance which could well mean the difference between life and death. If that was not animal cruelty then what the hell is? The means does not justify the end and most certainly does not justify an end which results in a death.
Yes we read your comments PAWS supporters. You think that the means justifies this end and you are now convinced Thika was ill prior to her departure from our zoo. A simple internet search for pictures of the girls before they left would prove that Thika is now half the elephant she was before departure.
Yes we know that many of you will never scrutinize what was done to these elephants by forcing that inhumane transport, because you refuse to challenge what you want to believe. PAWS was to supply the zoo with an update immediately after arrival, they did not, why? Because blood work would have shown elephants in distress and if that were the case then PAWS Zoocheck Councillors and Active Environments would be liable under animal cruelty laws. Its all about the optic isn’t it? Lets all pretend that the Toronto Zoo elephants were sick limping dehydrated and unhealthy before they left so if anything now happens to them as a result of transport you have set the groundwork to alleviate yourselves of any blame or legal liability for animal cruelty. And before you go running to Dr. Sofranko from the USDA to backdate Bell Cartage’s USDA registrations and licenses for transport note that the information regarding their status at time of transport has already been acquired. The DOT truck inspection called “sabotage” by Councillor Berardinetti took less than 30 minutes. That so called sabotage could mean a little something called coming back to bite you in the ass one day, not our ass YOURS. The transport YOU promised would take 50hrs took 70. You promised they would be ok Councillor Berardinetti even though you claimed a 30hr trip to Florida by truck would have been inhumane. As an elected official who conspired with animal rights groups to override the zoological opposition to this transfer and transport we hold you personally responsible for the health and welfare of these elephants.
You approved a transport company not legally registered to transport animals and with no experience transporting animals and they were encouraged the drivers to speed at the end of the journey causing the brakes to burn out and you left Thika behind separating her from her herd and family further traumatizing her, why do you think she would not come out of her crate? She has never been a shy or agitated elephant as you imply on your Facebook pages. You can’t cover this up, and if Thika dies it will the facts vs your version of the facts. Its all documented. And you cannot prove to the thousands upon thousands of people who have actually visited the Toronto Zoo elephants at the zoo that Thika was in any way shape or form in poor health before she left, certainly not the Prisoner Of War elephant we see now. Why were you speeding anyway? Lets remind ourselves, Oh that’s right so you could get to PAWS while there was still daylight left which would make for good filming of your victorious moment. You didn’t want to keep Mr Barker waiting now did you, he is your bank account.
“But if they are ok then why bother, just accept it” people are saying. How do you know Thika is alright? Have we now set a new precedent for the future transport of animals? As long as they appear ok when it’s done it doesn’t matter what happens along the way? And with the information being controlled by an organization notorious for lack of transparency how will anyone ever know the truth? They may be able to fend off the immediate affects of dehydration and tell everyone that she is agitated and nervous by nature and of course this is a result of her “sub-standard” care at the zoo but the affects of transport related stress illnesses can eat away at her muscle tissue for weeks and even months before she finally succumbs collapses and dies. You are all so committed to your dire need to believe in happy endings and that zoo is a dirty word that you are allowing yourselves to selectively ignore the true condition of these elephants, you accept what you would otherwise claim was an inhumane road transport in name of animal welfare and animal liberation dogma. If a zoo or a circus had transported these elephants this way you would have been signing petitions day and night until you collapsed from exhaustion. Little 30 second video clips and planned photo ops is not enough to prove they are ok.
If you really cared about animals you would ask questions and demand answers. We demand answers, we want to know why Zoocheck and PAWS rejected a viable air transport plan which was just recently used to transport Mila from New Zealand to the San Diego zoo, successfully we might add. The same crate modifications, same plane and the same transporter. You rejected this plan and chose an inhumane and unethical road transport, why? Your arrogant self righteous need to “win” at all costs will not go unpunished and we will not allow you to blame our zoo in any way shape or form for your failure to provide true animal welfare and whatever happens to these elephants as a result of this transport.
You see people if there is one thing we learned about PAWS over the last 2 years is that it is not what you see but rather what you don’t see, and those days where you did not see Thika she was struggling to survive after the transport and being denied the right to humane welfare by having her keepers with her. The damage done to her muscles and tissues will be irreversible. If she has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as activist groups claims elephants can get how long will she suffer? She never had this before. But you don’t care now do you? You are just happy to have won a victory and you can validate yourselves, you have beaten a zoo even if it means these animals have suffered as a result and that it took lies and corruption to do so as well as an act of animal cruelty which mean death for one or more of them. You have been used and lied to and you don’t mind, better off dead than captive bred? You are not the only voice for animals and our voice on behalf of Thika Toka and Iringa will speak loud and clear to all who will listen.
Pseudo progressive elitists who are self proclaimed as morally superior to all of us and who approved and forced a 70hr transport of our elephants based on that moral superiority, that is what happened. Now Thika could be dying as a result. We are committed to bringing down and exposing these elitists who committed animal cruelty under the false guise of animal welfare in the name of power and greed. I think we can call that exploitation.
The last photo updates (few videos are posted) was November 7, 2013, today is November 19, 2013. Today, 12 days after the last update some photos https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151616403595895.1073741829.311515825894&type=1
The first 12 photos were taken over a mater of secnds as you can see Iringa holding her right front leg where she suffers some arthritis in an awkward position, I dare you to find a photo at the zoo showing this kind of apparent discomfort. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151674981745895&set=a.10151616403595895.1073741829.311515825894&type=3&theater here is Thika from today’s update. We admit, thank god she appears to have gained back some weight but her appearance is still gaunt, her muscle condition not what it was prior to her departure from the zoo and the affects of CM over time are not something you can see. It will just happen one day, she will go down and never rise again.
Where is Thika?
Remember Thika? The youngest elephant from the Toronto Zoo Thika is 34yrs old and was born in Toronto. The first African elephant born in captivity in North America. She rode solo on her trek across country to PAWS while her older herd mates Toka and Iringa share another truck.
As Toka and Iringa arrived at PAWS we were told Thika’s truck had broken down with over heated brakes. Something which can easily happen traversing the Donner Pass with such a heavy load but more likely to happen if someone is speeding. And ever more likely again if someone who has no experience transporting animals let alone an elephant is doing the driving. Yes this is correct, the company hired by Zoocheck and Active Environments to drive this precious cargo on an inhumane 70hrs road trip (84hrs in the crates) not only had never transported animals before but was not even legally licensed or registered to do so. One has to wonder how they crossed the border into the United States without this required licensing?
So Thika, alone in her crate, on the side of the road likely scared from the noise of the breakdown and the smoke, surely someone will stay with her to ensure she is ok? By all accounts according to the CBC’s Fifth Estate we love PAWS documentary about the transport it appears no one did. After three or more years of claiming undying love and caring for the welfare of these animals you would think either Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada or its founder Rob Laidlaw would stay? Or someone from the Active Environment’s transport team. No, the answer is no and we have yet to determine if one of the vets remained back with her however we are investigating this. Instead the others raced ahead to ensure they were on site at Ark2000 to have their victorious moment of glory documented on film by the CBC film crew and news media.
Of course an actual expert in elephant transport would have advised that someone stay behind, surely they did not leave Thika with a bunch of truck drivers? But then again an actual expert in the transport of elephants would not have made this ridiculous trek in the first place. Her Toronto Zoo team had to be on hand for the unloading of Toka and Iringa, so Thika the youngest who has never travelled or known any other life than the one she had at Toronto Zoo and the one likely with the least coping skills is left behind, alone, without the comforting sounds of her herd mates, without the familiar faces she trusts, her Toronto Zoo keepers. It is no wonder she refused to come out of her crate when she arrived, that it took Toronto Zoo keepers more than an hour to coax her out. Now we have not seen a picture or a video of her since the one and only pic was posted by PAWS on October 24, 2013.
They claim, after a great deal of pressure and concern from both PAWS supporters and Zoo supporters that they have been too busy? Their supporters now claim that PAWS has no obligation to share anything with anyone? No they do not, legally. But morally they do. According to Zoocheck’s biased poll conducted back in 2011 almost 75% of Torontonians supported the move to PAWS. So PAWS would deny the people of Toronto who love these elephants the opportunity to know they are safe and well simply because of their animosities towards the zoo or the people who opposed the move? I guess one could argue that legally they do have a responsibility to prove that the inhumane transport plan which was opposed by the zoo and by 10+ veterinary and animal welfare experts DID NOT cause physical harm or damage to the elephants. We have already seen Toka walking with a new pronounced limp she never had before at the Toronto Zoo and Iringa’s gait was painful to watch, she was struggling. But for the youngest and healthiest elephant to have been affected by this transport experience is another story altogether. 4200km Cross country, 70hrs by an inexperienced trucking company coordinated by a transport organization with less experience than they claimed was cruel and unnecessary and we hope one of OUR Toronto elephants does not have to prove this with their life. The truck was driving TOO FAST, we know this. Why? They were being pressured to; to make sure the “team” could be on site in time for a Bob Barker presser.
So much for animal welfare. Now we are into the fifth day, and nothing. Just a post from PAWS telling us they are too busy and PAWS supporters telling us it is none of our business. Oh, it is our business trust me and we will go out of our way to make it our business until the truth about this unethical transfer and inhumane transport has been shared with the world and justice for Iringa, Toka and Thika is achieved. This whole fiasco has been nothing more than an exercise is arrogance and a false façade that this is more about animal welfare than it is about the big agenda, the anti zoo movement.
Hmmm, well first of all that was a statement made by Zoocheck’s Julie Woodyer based on an outdated and misleading list of the status of Zoos with elephants in North America. Her list was missing the very important factor of what zoos were in fact upgrading and expanding their exhibits and the numbers of available spots for African elephants in North American zoos as per the Elephant Managers Association’s recent reports, there were many facilities which met the criteria by the way. Well it is not like we expect Zoocheck to be honest but you do expect a taxpayer funded television network to attempt some semblance of impartiality, or at the very least do some sort of actual research. Or even further simply read the research provided to them by citizens who spent 2 years gathering factual evidence.
The zoo also said NO facilities on the West Coat due to the logistics and inhumane distance for travel.
The zoo also said no facilities with current or past issues with tuberculosis.
Oh I guess that answers the burning question as to why it took citizens accessing Freedom of Information documents to prove there had been a tuberculosis outbreak and two documented TB related deaths at the sanctuary rather than PAWS and Zoocheck telling the truth about that from the get go. Why the truth had to be dragged out of them tooth and nail. Yes that’s right the entire time Zoocheck, PAWS and Councillors were claiming there was no TB and that there had been no TB deaths at PAWS they knew full well that was NOT TRUE and that Rebecca died TB+ in January of 2011.
The CEO of the zoo had also been given a letter from PAWS ally and Director of the Detroit Zoo admitting there had been TB on site. On site transmission, not some elephant with an old infection which could be blamed on someone else ( for PAWS it is always someone else’s fault) . Annie got TB on site at PAWS when Rebecca was TB+ and the sanctuary had no idea of that positive status until after she died. She was able to expose her herd mates and one is STATPAK reactive and another, Annie TB+. Annie got Tuberculosis AT PAWS! Yes that is correct citizens of Toronto you were lied to and the zoo was censored and threatened with job losses if they dare tell you the truth.
I guess that is why one of the criteria laid out by the zoo and board was not to send our elephants to a facility with past or present issues with tuberculosis. Had PAWS told the truth about their tuberculosis issues they would have been fairly and justly ruled out as a potential home for our elephants. But abuse of political power and abuse of media power managed to disguise the truth, twist it and has allowed emotional dogma to override true animal welfare. They would all rather risk our elephants lives to a deadly disease than send them to the beautiful National Elephant Center in Florida.
It may seem like just three elephants to some but I ask you, do you want to be lied to by your elected officials? Do you want to be lied to by a taxpayer funded broadcast corporation? If they served their self interest ideologies on this issue what else will they lie to us about? What is next? Our pets? Our farmers? What we serve for dinner? Our democratic rights and freedoms? Should a handful of extreme liberals drenched in their own narcissistic ideologies socially engineer our lives as free thinking Canadians? Think about it.
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
After two years of dealing directly with animal rights supporters of the PAWS sanctuary it is hard not to come to the conclusions that these people are fanatics. More than fanatics, cult-like or even co-religionists who have been indoctrinated into a group think situation where nothing but de-programming will bring them back to the world of free thinking rationalists. I cannot recall even one time over the course of two years where anyone who was a member of this “group” was willing to have a rational debate and exchange of the facts without insulting or attacking us straight out of the starting gates. There has not been one time where the true believers have even presented a fact or evidence which would disprove the official documents which support that there indeed was a tuberculosis crisis at the sanctuary, one which was quietly covered up likely with the aid of USDA Field Specialist Dr. Denise Sofranko. Currently sanctuary supporters are being told that the tuberculosis at PAWS was either “cleared up” or proven to be “false”. When we ask for evidence our comments are deleted off social media or we are insulted, berated and harassed.
I personally have always maintained that these fanatics are like prey, easy pickings for the large animal rights groups who absorb them into the group think with sad pictures, catchy catch phrases and costly ad campaigns. Let’s face it they have millions of dollars invested in their ad and propaganda campaigns, mind control and manipulation has been a simple task for them. That angry army programmed to believe this is some us vs them battle for moral supremacy provides a lot of free marketing for the leaders of this movement.
At some point these organizations, HSUS Department of Anti Meat, PETA The Department of Anti Pets and their underlings the Department of We Hate Zoos Born free USA and In Defense of Animals decided to merge the Departments of We Hate Circuses and We hate Zoos. Their fight against elephants in zoos was not gaining the momentum they needed, well the money and power they needed. It was a brilliant move I’ll give them that, misguided and irrational but none the less it worked. Zoos and apparently science are now dirty words.
I guess if you live in a household where your philosophies are driven by what is handed to you by corporate think tanks with an agenda to control your daily actions and absorb you into the rank and file as a marketing puppet you likely would not be inclined to teach your children to pursue and succeed at logical fact based studies such as the maths and science or media literacy. Having an educated society is the key to economic prosperity and growth. Notably Canadians as a nation are not quite as enamoured with the need for celebrity leaders or icons. Repetitive slogans for emotionally driven campaigns which require you not to think constructively or think for one’s self is a form of mass media control it is no different than a corporate brand, corporate media or news agencies bringing you the message they want you to believe in. They depend on human laziness and apathy and feed off insecurity and the need to belong, to have purpose. The animal rights movement is no different than a corporate ad campaign for a car or a medication or a pair of designer shoes. It provides the same immediate gratification, that you are special, you have value that you are a member of a special class of people. But the emotional component of the AR movement provides an extra ingredient – the achievement of moral and intellectual superiority and the belonging to a group which will validate your achievement every day. There is no difference between the AR movements and fanatical religious movements. You would experience the same fanatical angry response if you walked into Wetsboro Baptist Church and told them their insane theories on the supposed correlation between acceptance of homosexuality and the destruction of American society was a falsehood, you would be verbally attacked based on unstable emotionally misguided hatred which twists facts into a skewed reality to suit personal agendas.
It is the agenda of a small few at the top, they make the money they have the power you do all the work – for free. You buy into their dogma without question. And aside from that personal validation all you get it return is social ostracising if you dare to question or dare to take a moderate point of view – if you dare to be rational, if you dare to think for yourself. You would be burned at the virtual cyber stake.
We have seen this kind of movement, this holier than thou mindset throughout history, we reflect on these movements from the past with disgust and disregard. We denounce it in the present. Yet you accept it in now, when animal rights have absorbed animal welfare movements and taken them to the level of extreme?
When the large animal rights groups merged the We Hate Zoos Department and the We Hate Circuses Departments they could now direct all the hate, rage and intolerance they inspire in it’s followers into one campaign which believed that aside from the wild the only place for these elephants was in a sanctuary. There are two sanctuaries, TES and PAWS. It is notable that TES does not have a designated “leader” anymore since the outing of their founder the illustrious Carol Buckley. She would be the one who taught her first elephant to ride roller skates. Although TES takes a quieter stance against captivity they are still backed by IDA, Born Free is the Department “manager” of PAWS.
PAWS however has vocal celebrity support, money and their spiritual leaders Pat and Ed. Most of the advertising campaigns to inspire anti zoo sentiment revolves around PAWS and elephants. It is indicative of their efforts to manipulate, a cult needs a leader. TES has no dynamic figurehead therefore the control of the army would not be as effective if they were more in the limelight. Furthermore TES appears to have more transparency with regards to disease and disease protocols. In the case of PAWS the main celebrity leader is Mr Misogynist abuser of women Bob Barker and the deceased Pat Derby, cults still worship leaders even if posthumously. Failed animal trainer, failed zoological expert, failed at everything until she figured out that elephants touch people’s hearts and open people’s wallets. It wasn’t until she and partner Ed Stewart realized that yes elephants do attract attention and make money that they began their elephant sanctuary and achieved success. It seems their alliances with larger animal rights groups aided in building on this success. Zoos don’t exploit elephants any more than PAWS does or the larger AR organizations which use elephants as poster children to funnel money into the bigger collective agenda. It is not a zoo which creates mass public interest in elephants, it is the elephant itself; iconic beautiful and threatened in the wild.
Pat’s previous animal hoard was almost entirely euthanized on her orders when she went bankrupt and she was too self righteous and arrogant to let anyone have her animals. No one could care for her animals the way she could, death was preferred. At that time when animals were being put down, quoted in her words in her own book she mentions the wolves gave birth to cubs. Gave birth? Why were these animals breeding? We thought you didn’t believe in breeding? None of the PAWS supporters ever ask that question; no one ever asks why she was breeding her wolves – EVER. Why was she breeding? What was she doing with the cubs? Selling them? The carcasses of dead animals she chose death over life for were bulldozed up and buried. Group think once again denies the truth allowing their leaders to have behaved in any manner in the past, in a way they would now vilify and attack someone for. With complete blind faith or forgiveness if you “rescue” animals now it doesn’t matter what you did them before, if you call your facility a sanctuary you are automatically exempt from scrutiny or accountability.
Zoos have increased their ability to keep elephants healthier and happier in zoos over the last 20 years however they are not allotted the same open minded tolerance from the army. Recently a study showed that foot ailments and infections in elephants in captivity are down and the main issue now facing elephants in zoos is weight. Experts have always claimed that foot ailments were a result of older more archaic methods of keeping elephants in zoos, as those methods changed the foot aliments have decreased. AR groups like Zoocheck like to tell people that foot infections are the leading cause of death in zoos, with of course has no supporting evidence, just another repetitive campaign slogan to brainwash their followers and to recruit more. And surely PAWS can relate to this issue of weight as their elephants are too heavy, and you don’t need to be an expert to see this. You do however have to be a free thinker with some semblance of common sense. Not surprisingly the commentary of PAWS supporters on social media upon seeing the Toronto Zoo elephants in videos after their arrival to the facility were riddled with statements claiming the girls are too thin, attacking the zoo implying they had no money to feed them, that they had been abused in their “prison”. Actually the Toronto Zoo elephant management team is award winning for their exercise management program which enabled the elephants to lose weight and remain physically fit. PAWS did not bother to learn the girl’s fitness routines from the zoo keepers so that perhaps they could teach it to their own elephants and maintain some routine for the TZoo3 to alleviate the stress of relocation.
A too heavy elephant is an elephant which cannot get back up if it goes down, an overweight elephant can develop a multitude of health issues. PAWS has no enrichment programs, no exercise programs, they believe wandering around in a field all day is enough for an animal to stay fit. So they free range eat without restrictions and are not exercised which of course leads to the weight issues. You can see in most of PAWS elephant pictures. You can’t deny that, you merely have to look at their photos. Will the army ask PAWS about this? Will the army ask for PAWS to start an enrichment program which encourages stretching of muscles and development of muscle tone and strength? No they will not because apparently if you are a fat elephant in a sanctuary this is magically ok and better than being a heavy elephant in a zoo. What is the point of 80acres to exercise their legs and joints if it is ineffective and without results causing obesity? What is the point of letting the animals gain too much weight – do you know anyone who has ever said to you I am so glad I got really fat I, feel so much healthier now? Or that being overweight has really helped the pain in their joints and legs or their arthritis?
Sanctuaries can let animals get dangerously overweight but if this happens in a zoo they are vilified? Toronto Zoo keepers are treated like villains and not a single army member notes that without the world class care and training provided by those keepers the Toronto Zoo elephants would not have been able to manage the inhumane and hypocritical road trip which was 84hrs in the crate and 70+hrs on the road without going down en route. And even now you can see in videos being posted by PAWS that despite their good health 2 of the older girls are now suffering from that road trip, Toka has a pronounced limp she never had before and Iringa’s gait is showing signs of being in severe pain. Not just on the front leg where she had a previous foot ailment but all over. Everyone keeps saying “they are ok!” and no one, not one person from the PAWS supporters has had the guts to stand up and ask why they are limping so badly. Why? You will be attacked by your peers for daring to question your leaders. Anyone else who has posted this question on their social media groups has had their comments removed almost immediately. They control the flow of information as they have for years, hence why you were never told the truth about TB. And now you think they will tell you the truth about these three elephants you all claim to care so much about? If you choose to ignore these burning questions it is clear that the cause means more to you than actual animal welfare.
A cult is a group of people who organize around a strong authority figure. Cults, like many other groups, attempt to expand their influence for the purposes of power or money. However, to achieve these ends, destructive cults employ a potent mixture of influence techniques and deception to attain psychological control over members and new recruits. This fundamental level of control is known alternatively as ‘brainwashing,’ ‘thought reform,’ or ‘mind control.’ A successful induction by a destructive cult displaces a person’s former identity and replaces it with a new one. That new identity may not be one that the person would have freely chosen under her own volition (Hassan, 1990).
What people “want” or “need” is always open to much interpretation. Needs and wants can also be influenced to a significant degree. Self-awareness and spirituality have become consumer goods on an open personal transformation marketplace complete with multimillion dollar packaging and advertising campaigns. Relatively basic needs such as the need for love and intimacy can be reinterpreted and intellectualized into abstract and metaphorical needs; the “lonely” person becomes the “spiritual seeker” in search of “true meaning in life,” “self- actualization” or a “sense of oneness with the cosmos.” With cults and mass therapies, the question of informed consent becomes a more difficult one to answer than it first seems. Considerable caution on the part of those groups offering “enlightenment” seems indicated.
Cult recruits are not any more likely to be mentally ill, less intelligent, or less well educated than the average population. Nor are they necessarily more gullible on average. They do tend, however, to be “seekers,” constantly looking for pat answers and magical solutions for personal or societal problems. They are often driven to find answers (any answer) to the great metaphysical questions, rather than live with uncertainty. Those who have a higher tolerance for ambiguity can live with the acceptance that such things are ultimately unknowable.
Despite likely sharing a multitude of common causes which aim to protect and preserve wild species or to increase animal welfare for animals in captivity thanks to the polarizing and premeditated effect of the us vs them campaign encouraged by the large animal rights groups leading the charge against zoos factions have been created, there is a divide which pits one team against another in a blood sport which involves the vehement rejection of anyone who does not share their belief systems 100%. Where in the world does any one group of people all share the exact same thinking on every subject without question?
PAWS is nothing more than a private zoo for the rich and famous, like the historical royal menageries of days gone by, while you, the subservient loyal peasant look on – through your computer screens and rose coloured glasses. They get to be with animals? They get to own animals and use them for anti zoo campaigns but zoos can’t have animals and use them to promote the needs of the wild world in crisis? They get to be forgiven for their past indiscretions but zoos do not? And you get to promote campaigns against zoos but we cannot campaign in their defence? To defend the value of zoos means we don’t care about animal welfare? The only prisoners in this debate are those who cannot escape being mentally polarized and trapped by their self appointed leaders. How come we only ever see the elephants at PAWS in ad campaigns and videos? What about the dozens of big cats, the bears and the primates? You want attention and big money? Show me the elephants.
Review the check list and see for yourselves. Anyone who has been a victim of these organized attacks in order to stifle information which might undermine the group think will recognize these traits quickly.