The “Animal Legal Defense Fund” (ADLF) has stepped up their continued harassment of the San Antonio Zoo by filing a lawsuit alleging that the zoo has violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by housing a single female Asian Elephant, Lucky.
To begin, it is beyond comprehension that the ALDF knows what is best for this elephant. The ALDF is a radicle animal rights organization that uses the legal system to bully and harass anyone or any facility that it does not agree with or dares to stand up to them. The ALDF is a legal group and is not comprised of individuals who are experts in the care of elephants in a zoological setting. The San Antonio Zoo on the other hand is a highly respected zoological institution that is accredited by both AZA and ZAA. The zoo has gone out of its way to do what is right for their elephant even in the face of negative media generated by the ALDF and PETA. It is my belief that one of the reasons the ALDF is pursing this legal action is due to SA Zoo pushing back and defending themselves as strongly as they have.
It would have been the easy thing for San Antonio Zoo to just throw up their hands and say you can take Lucky to a “Sanctuary”, it probably would have been the smart thing to do financially. However San Antonio Zoo has chosen to put the welfare of Lucky first and leave her where she is, and defend her against these animal rights extremists.
The general claim that ALDF is making is that the SA Zoo is “taking” i.e.: harming their elephant under the Endangered Species Act. Mind you the USDA, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Zoological Association of America have all signed off on the zoo’s elephant care, but ALDF just thinks they know better.
Lucky the elephant is old for an Asian elephant, she is 55 years old, much older than she would be if she were in the wild. This elephant has lived a good long life and has a team of seven full time keepers dedicated solely to her every need. Lucky also happens to be an elephant that prefers the company of her keepers to other elephants, in other words she is a loner that does not like other elephants. In the past other elephants have been aggressive toward Lucky and have even knocked her down. Yet ALDF wants this elephant who does not like other elephants, and perhaps even fears them to be sent to a “sanctuary” to live with other elephants.
According to the lawsuit the elephants enclosure is to small, there is inadequate shelter and the substrate of the exhibit is to hard. The thing that is hard to believe about that,is that lucky is 55 years old and has been at the zoo thriving for a very long time and is in relatively good health for her age. So the argument that her exhibit and care is somehow a “takings”i.e.: harming her, just does not hold water, simply because the elephant has thrived for this long at her current facility.
I will spare you the waste of time reading through the legal filing, I did that part, you shouldn’t have to suffer the same fate. The ALDF is alleging that a few residents of the city have developed a relationship with this elephant by viewing her and that by having this relationship and deciding she is unhappy; that is causing them distress and thus they are suing. They were even bold enough to claim that the decision to visit and see the elephant or deciding not to see her because these residents don’t agree with the zoo has cause aesthetic, emotional, and recreational injuries on the plaintiffs. Yes you read that right, having to make a decision whether or not to visit the zoo to see this elephant is causing not one but three types of fictional injuries upon these vexatious litigants.
Make no mistake this lawsuit is not about Lucky or even the welfare of elephants in human care. This lawsuit is just another move by the animal rights industry to try and besmirch the reputation of zoos in the court of public opinion. Groups like the ALDF would rather live in a fantasy world where all elephants are safe in the wild, than live in the real world where zoological institutions are doing everything they can to save both Asian and African elephants from extinction.
San Antonio Zoo needs the support of the entire animal industry and the zoo going public as they stand up to the animal rights industry. The zoo is doing what is best for their elephant while ALDF is just using Lucky as a pawn in their political game of swaying public opinion away from zoos and toward the alleged utopia of a “sanctuary”.
I am supporting Lucky, her keepers, and the San Antonio Zoo, will you do the same?