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Ok well then lets hear what you have to say about Gypsy, Thika and Toka being kept isolated and alone at The Performing Animal Welfare Society. Why have you not spoken up about this? Remember the Toronto Zoo elephants? You supported the inhumane 85hr road transport of the three pachyderms to California. Within two months Thika was segregated and then lived alone for 18 months. By all accounts she is still living alone. Iringa died just 20 months after arriving at PAWS. Is an elephant living isolated and alone at a sanctuary aware of some kind of difference between its life at a zoo vs its life at a sanctuary? No, actually it is not. Elephants don’t cry and they don’t make comparisons of that sort. “Oh Im alone but I am at a sanctuary so its ok”, there are actually people who believe this nonsense and you, a renowned scientist promote and perpetuate this kind of ignorance and lack of logical and scientific thinking with your constant back and forth on your support of good zoos and your flip flopping and increasingly unimportant opinions.
None of the Toronto elephants have begun integration with PAWS existing African herd, and if you don’t remember the reason for the Toronto Zoo re-homing their elephants IT WAS TO ENHANCE THEIR SOCIAL WELL BEING.
Gypsy lives alone because her entire herd HAS DIED OFF after exposure to undiagnosed tuberculosis onsite at the PAWS sanctuary. Yet here you are blah blah blahhing again against good zoos. Throwing your primate expertise around like it was the word of god. You poked your nose into the Toronto Zoo elephant debate and ignored all the scientific evidence sent to you about tuberculosis at the facility then you did it again with the Woodland Park Zoo elephants and here you are again shopping for new elephants to fill the empty herds at PAWS and other sanctuaries who seem to have their own issues with keeping elephants alive and socially enriched. FYI The Woodland Park Zoo elephants were integrated into their new multi generational family group in less than three months….two years later The Toronto elephants are still not integrated. What do you have to say about that?
If you are going to speak out against a lone elephant in a zoo then it is your professional responsibility to also speak out about the lone elephants living at american sanctuaries. You have used zoos your entire life to inspire your love of wildlife, to fund your research and to aid in your many causes and organizations. How can you have any credibility as a scientist or any self respect for that matter if you don’t speak up about those lone sanctuary elephants? But it seems in your later years you have decided you no longer need zoos and be damned all the other young people out there who use zoos as a springboard to develop a love of the study of science and the natural world. I imagine if we just follow the money we would see what motivates you these days.
Once an idol for me you have become a joke, throwing your famous name around in the name of extremist dogma and donations. Its sad that you have become such a hypocrite in your old age.
You autographed books are off to the thrift store.
Can you tell the difference Jane?
This past week we have seen many PAWS supporters ask a simple question, why won’t you or why can’t you evacuate your animals? Those who are known to be non-supporters of PAWS had their comments deleted pronto and were also swiftly banned from posting. Simple questions like “why have your live webcams been turned off?” go unanswered. There is always a handful of the most loyal fans who will respond to these questions on PAWS behalf with generally ludicrous made up answers to appease the more ludicrous of questioners. Still, we see you asking and we see you either attacked, appeased or ignored. Here is our take on last week’s events:
Now, if the air quality conditions were as you claim Ed, peachy keen, when the fires were very close and basically raging between Sept 10 to September 14, enough so that you could send the elephants out in to it for photo ops why not have the webcams running? If the animals were calm and unaffected by the fires and smoke then why not have the cams on? Just answer the question Ed, it is not that hard. We are prepared for your answer, “oh there is a problem with the live feed or it’s broken” and if that is the case then why the big deal? Why not just answer the damn question? It appears to be one of the most popular questions on your Facebook page currently, one that goes unanswered by you and your marketing team. But let’s move on to the greater more interesting question that has gone unanswered.
Why did you refuse to evacuate and then refuse the help offered to get your entire collection of animals out of the fiery and smokey conditions?
We understand why you refused help from the zoological and performing animal experts, accepting this aid from people who use an elephant guide would undermine your lobby efforts to ban the guide. Your fans may not accept this very rational and obvious assessment but there are many people out there who do. Are you incapable of moving those elephants without a major undertaking because simply put your management and training skills are not as world class as you claim? Unable to properly train Annie for treatment of TB would be one indicator this is the case (according to USDA FOI) And FYI Annie was not abused at her zoo, she lived with you for 19 years and you were unable to do anything to heal this alleged abuse or her foot issues? You do remember she was exposed to tuberculosis when you failed to diagnose Rebecca, she had positive STATPAK results shortly after and was eventually diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Your constant misrepresentation of the truth to make excuses for yourselves really is sickening.
Incapable of integrating Thika with her own family herd or any of the Toronto elephants with your existing herd would be another major red flag. While zoos all over the world are integrating elephant groups within months and even days its been two years and still you cannot integrate our elephants with yours. It is pretty sad to think of Thika living alone all those months and now Toka as well.
It seems however that the real reason evacuation was avoided was right there in front of our faces all this time.
And here it is.
- “Seeing the Elephants”
2-Day Weekend Getaway
• Arrival in San Andreas, California, on Friday.
• Spend Friday and Saturday nights at a lovely bed & breakfast in this historic Gold Rush town.
• Awake each morning to a scrumptious, homemade breakfast.
• SATURDAY features an educational, fun-filled, daylong visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara,
Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000.
• You’ll receive an “insider’s” tour of the elephant habitat and spend the day with PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 Sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
• A vegetarian picnic lunch will be served.
• On your own for dinner Friday and Saturday.
• SUNDAY features a special extended visit with the lions, tigers, leopard and bears in their ARK 2000 habitats.
Receive an “insider’s” tour of the habitats.
Donation price for this unique experience: $800 per person
($1,300 for 2 people sharing a room)
“Seeing the Elephant”
Saturday, 1-Day Getaway
• Arrival in San Andreas, California, by 9 a.m.
• Take part in an educational, fun-filled, day visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara, Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000. You’ll explore elephant habitat and spend the day with the PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
- A vegetarian picnic lunch will be served.
Donation price for this unique experience: $250 per person
This event would have most certainly had to be cancelled if you moved your animals to safety. And with many people likely flying in for the event and with bookings at your friend’s B and B as well, evacuation and rescheduling would have been a financial and logistical disaster for all involved. It was just easier and more financially beneficial to “shelter in place”.
How much does this event bring in? $15,000, $25,000? Not to mention all the priceless photo ops you use afterwards to promote yourself. We know there are many of you out there that will be outraged at this suggestion on our part, but we are not concerned about your outrage over us, we could care less actually. Our main concern is the animals and their health and well-being. Anyone who would see this connection and not have an “aha” moment, actually stop and think to themselves that this makes sense is not someone we are appealing to. We are appealing to those who have a rational thought process and who care more about animal welfare than their ideological membership in the PAWS club.
Did they refuse evacuation so as to ensure this event was not interrupted or cancelled? You should all ask yourselves this question honestly and without bias.
Did you know that USDA elephant inspector Dr. Denise Sofranko has been known to frequent these visitor events? That is relevant when you consider PAWS told a news station that they have kept their inspector informed about their “shelter in place” emergency plan. If a zoo or a private owner had done this there would be a 50 thousand person petition and complaints to the USDA. But PAWS always gets a pass and its starting to appear suspicious don’t you think?
One minute Ed Stewart is telling the media “you cannot prepare for a monster fire like this” and the next minute he is saying “we prepare all year for this”. One minute he says they cannot evacuate and the next he says oh we have an evacuation plan. Either you do or you don’t Ed. Just pick one answer and go with it, people ARE PAYING ATTENTION.
Should PAWS get a pass just because you support their ideology? Should they get a pass even if it might put the animals’ lives at risk? What happens when the next fire comes from the south or the west and there is no city or highway to buffer the onslaught? The intensity of the heat and smoke alone sweeping across those dry, barren fields would be enough to kill animals. And these fires are not going away anytime soon.
Perhaps this will help you decide. When PAWS, Zoocheck and Active Environments moved the Toronto elephants in trucks and with drivers who had little to no experience transporting large animals Thika’s truck’s brakes burned out in the Donner Pass, why we cannot say for certain but it is suggested that speed was a factor. You see it was getting late and dark and good Old Bob Barker and the press were waiting at the facility for the animals to arrive so they could film the big victory. The push days previous to get on the road at a very specific time was probably because they had hoped to arrive on the Saturday of the Grape Stomp event. Imagine how grand that would have been and imagine people opening up their wallets on the spot. They wholly underestimated the time it would take to move these elephants citing originally 40 to 50 hours when in fact it took 85 hours. After Thika’s truck broke down the others chose to speed off with Toka and Iringa leaving Thika behind. Emotionally and physically exhausted and drained she had to watch her only family drive away and leave her behind and alone. Imagine how traumatizing that must have been for her. She was traumatized because she didn’t even want to leave her crate later and it took the Toronto Keepers over an hour to get her to do so and then she refused to enter the barn. And she was allowed to remain outside despite the cooler evening temperatures and not taking into consideration how those cold temperatures could affect an animal experiencing physical or emotional trauma after transport. And as we know the next morning Bob Barker kicked those keepers out after mocking their sadness and tears of course, PAWS did not allow them to stay and aid in the transition as per industry standards. Because it was not about the animals’ well-being it was about egos and pay back on the part of Ed and his team. This is what Thika looked like just days after arrival and we assure you she did not look like that before she left Toronto.
But the show must go on. And it really is a show. Carefully chosen video clips and photo ops, limited information, media statements. Everything calculated to present PAWS in just the right way to promote themselves and their profitable animal rights agendas. PAWS continues to have the nerve to accuse people who make their living with animals of exploiting them for money, profit and greed despite several million dollars in profits sitting in their own bank accounts. And to add insult to injury they had the nerve to capitalize on this disastrous and deadly fire to ask for donations for their magical firefighting goat fund. It was only after they were mocked on social media for putting out the begging bowl for themselves that they suggested people assist animal rescue efforts in the areas affected by the fires. Which of course was followed by photos of Ed donating some hay. By the way, with a tuberculosis quarantine order in place for Gypsy and possibly the bulls we were wondering if that hay came from ARK2000, because, well that would be against USDA regulations right?
If you want to believe that PAWS didn’t put all of their animals at risk in order to salvage their visitor weekend and a $15+ profit then that is your choice, we believe they did and that is our right. More and more of you have begun to ask questions and we applaud your courage to face the wrath of the super fandom, to stand on your own, step away from the groupthink mentality and do what is truly best for these animals. Keep asking questions and never stop. Hold them to the same standards they publicly demand of others. Those animals depend on your courage.
It is the most common comment we get here at Zoos Matter and see on social media, you are liars. Yes that’s right we have spent 3 years carefully doctoring official government documents (lol) and posted them as facts without any legal repercussions. Of course the army of blind faith animal rights followers wilfully avert their minds from rational thinking and we are the bad guys for exposing truths.
This comes as no surprise to us, it is the reason animal rights organizations like PETA rake in 25+ million dollars a years despite being exposed for the militant vegan movement it is and the deaths of 90% of the animals they take in, despite the Humane Society of United States being exposed for spending more money on lawyers and lobbying than actual animal welfare, less than 1% of what is donated. People just avoid those little truths so as to maintain their commitment to their personal self definitions as the chosen superior saviours of animals. Meanwhile corporate animal rights groups have destroyed the animal welfare movement, a more reasonable and realistic approach to helping animals. By raking in those millions every year and diverting donations to themselves with slick ad campaigns HSUS, PETA and others have destroyed small animal rescue organizations which do the real work at ground level. But that is ok right? Because the big organizations have celebrities! OMG that is so much better than rolling up your sleeves with a bunch of nobody schmoes and really contributing. Faithfully reporting their propaganda online is much more effective and personally rewarding, right? More effective at giving you a sense of belonging to a cause with like minded people. We get called many names, they amuse us. AZA Black Ops is a personal favourite.
Who are Zoos Matter? We get asked this a lot. We are not one person and we are not Toronto Zoo keepers as the ARA set would have people believe. The core of this 300+ organization is a research team of over 30 people from around the world, regular people with regular jobs, zoological experts, animal care experts, people from sanctuaries, zoos, animal welfare advocates and scientists. You see Zoos Matter is a cooperative, we do not have or follow one leader. We work cooperatively to research evaluate and analyse information. We have members who submit Freedom of Information requests, members who scour social media for information members, who scour the net for news stories and we have more who collect research papers facts and data and we have members who write blog posts. We don’t take money from people, we do this voluntarily and we are part of a growing coalition and opposition to animal rights propaganda which takes advantage of YOUR media illiteracy. You want names? Well that would be ludicrous now wouldn’t it? No one needs to be harassed by angry animal rights members. And yes that is what they do, harass you and try to intimidate you to shut up, to stop posting a differing opinions than their own or challenging their belief systems, the intolerance is astronomical. We are Zoos Matter, we and we work together for a common goal, the truth. We don’t care what you call us because we have news for you, we are adults and we surpassed the insecurity caused by ignorant bullies a very long time ago and these constant insults in lieu of intellect are less than juvenile, they are infantile. Our rational and truth based approach has the power to open minds and we are committed to this endeavour for as long as it takes for the truth to be known. The reputations of large corporate animal rights groups are dropping like flies out there, finally after years of dominating the media without vocal opposition the tide is changing. HSUS being exposed for misappropriation and misrepresentation of their donations, PETA for their extremists ties and general stupidity and hypocrisy and now Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers) is going to bring down more of them including Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA) ASPCA and others. Their recent legal request for donors lists if accepted by the courts could be the final straw fr these organizations, that is of course of a $25 million payout doesn’t break them first. These animal rights groups are seeking a protection order, you can review the legal documents here. The exposure of these donors will be very telling indeed and we hope the courts comply with Feld’s request as it is a RICO case it is important to know where the money flows.
We have multiple FOI request in currently and will post the results as they come in. We will continue to follow PAWS and the Toronto Zoo 3 and challenge the lies which are being spread about the Toronto Zoo and the care they gave these elephants prior to transfer to PAWS. We will not allow PAWS or Zoocheck to blame the zoo for the current health condition of these elephants in an effort to alleviate responsibility and to exploit our elephants for their anti zoo causes nor will we allow their supporters to do the same. Responsibility for what you ask? For forcing a 71hr road transport which was deemed by multiple zoological experts to be inhumane and a threat to the elephants health and well being, and it appears their concerns were not unfounded.
PAWS is claiming the Tzoo3 have low vitamin E. This is in fact common amongst captive elephants and I dare PAWS to post their own elephants vitamin E reports. The Toronto Zoo elephants were given supplements for Vitamin E for years and received injections prior to transport, their Vitamin levels were and are public record and PAWS and Zoocheck had this information long before road transport became what they claim was their only option. You see low vitamin E can contribute to white muscle diseases in transport, and it can also be mistaken for Capture Myopathy, a muscle exertion disease which can happen as a result of trauma due to transport. It is not surprising PAWS made this public statement as the Toronto Elephants are not looking well, in particular Thika the youngest elephant. We predicted they would look for something they could blame as an underlying cause for their condition, something they could use to throw back blame on to the zoo and deflect from the possibility that TRANSPORT caused their current state of health. Thika seems to have suffered the most and PAWS supporters seem to think this condition, her gaunt dehydrated appearance was her condition prior to transport. Of course just as these same activists cannot FOI the same documents we have in the past to prove we have not doctored a thing cannot also simply search pictures of the girls prior to transport and see that they were healthy robust elephants, not the withering elephants they are today.
But let’s get to the point of logic. We know this is a tough area for many PAWS supporters, logic and rational thinking so bear with us if the statement is oversimplified.
If the Toronto Zoo 3 were suffering from Vitamin E deficiency to a point that their health could be compromised during the inhumane long transport which was opposed by the Toronto Zoo vets and 5 vets from CFIA why then did the Oakland Zoo vets hired by PAWS to override the Tzoo vets sign on their health certificates for transport? They reviewed the elephant’s medical histories and they approved their health for transport. It was PAWS and Zoocheck who said it was ok to transport the girls 70hrs by truck despite their claims now that a vitamin deficiency is the cause of their current condition. But they took the risk anyway and now wish to blame the zoo? Or captivity in general we suppose. The zoo said NO. The zoo told all of you this was a risk and all of you chose to ignore these concerns convinced by propaganda that these vets were acting on behalf of the AZA or CAZA and not based on their professional ethics and concern for these animals, because as we know only you and sanctuaries truly care about animals. But you didn’t care, all of you ignored the rational science based facts which evidence and supported the concerns about long distance road transport. All of you allowed Bob Barker to renege on his promise of air transport. Once again you were convinced it was the zoo’s fault somehow that air transport was not possible. Of course recently Mila from New Zealand was transported by air in the same plane and same modified crate designs which Zoocheck and PAWS rejected for the Toronto Zoo elephants and still you allow this without question, without scrutiny. If they had been flown would these elephants have suffered as they did over 71hrs on the road? If PAWS and Zoocheck were aware of the elephant’s health conditions literally years prior to transport and the Oakland vets reviewed current and past health records just weeks and days prior why on earth did they approve this transport knowing full well there was a health risk? Are they so arrogant that they think they can do no harm? If they are this arrogant it is because YOU the blind faith supporter never question, all you do is follow orders. Did Vitamin E deficiency contribute to capture myopathy in the Toronto Zoo elephants or did transport alone, 71hrs on the road and 84hrs in crates cause this? Either way, either or the Toronto Zoo vets opposed the road transport. They never faltered from their professional ethics.
If you truly care about animals then think for yourself and ask questions. Why did these organizations force this transfer by road knowing full well the medical risks involved?
And to those who believe they have pinpointed who each and everyone of us is, we are everywhere and we are everyone. And NO we will not approve your asinine commentary such as “you are liars” or “you will burn in hell”, if you have an intelligent fact based comment to make then make it otherwise take your commentary to one of the many groups you are a member of and continue to live in the dark, we are the light.
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.
One of the favourite battle cries of the anti zoo army “look into their eyes!”
Look into their eyes and you will see….what?
Above is a series of photos of elephant eyes, taken from pics of wild, captive zoo, circus and sanctuary elephants.
Can you tell who is who just by looking into their eyes? Assuming that by doing so you can tell which animal is happy and which animal is sad?
It is amusing when I hear people chant this little ditty. How many times do you look at your cat or your dog and project your own human perception of emotion onto them? Yes we can sometimes tell when our pets are feeling happy, sad or scared; but by merely by gazing into their eyes? Sometimes my cat, while lying with his head down in a relaxed cat pose looks sad. But he isn’t sad, his body posture and the tilt of his head give him a sort of adorable appearance that inspires an emotional reaction from me. I start to think human thoughts, is he hungry? is he sick? did something happen? Or is it perhaps that he is just a cat, lazing about with thoughts I will never actually be able to fully know or understand…maybe he is just content thinking his cat thoughts. It is outlined a little more in detail in this interesting blog post http://melissaasmith.hubpages.com/hub/sad-zoo-animals and I tend to agree with the writer.
As humans we tend to relate everything we experience back to our own emotional experiences and this includes how we perceive others as well as animals. To me it is a bit narcissistic bordering on speciest to gage the emotions of living creatures against our own human emotions as if ours were the standard by which all life on earth should be compared to. They say they are the voice for the voiceless. To me this is kind of like an aggressive and unsolicited offer to interpret for a deaf person when you don’t know the first thing about sign language. Yes it is rooted in compassion and caring to want to be a voice for animals but when human advantage and motive begin to take centre stage that voice becomes your own, not one for animals. And the human species is rarely a purely selfless creature no matter how kind or good you might think you are. Ego is ever present, be it the ego which pats yourself on the back for doing what it considers to be an act of kindness to the ego that wants to compete, to win, perhaps to win a campaign for a cause. Personal motivation can be sly and covert even an unconscious parasitic crippler of good deeds. If one is not aware enough to recognize that they do not have super magic Dr. Doolittle powers of animal telepathy what are the odds that they are self aware enough to assess the influence their personal ego might have over their actions and words?
Perhaps there are many voices for the voiceless. Who decides whose voice is the right one? Surely being the loudest does not simply make you right.
“As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the
least wit are the greatest blabbers.”
No happy, content or actively curious emotions are noted as no activist would ever admit a captive elephant can be happy unless it is in one of the sanctuaries they support. Because it makes sense that other than being poisoned or shot and then having their faces hacked off with machetes in the wild the only two places in the entire world where and elephant can be happy is at a sanctuary.