Is An Oppressed Member of a Different Species Worth Your Concern?
Bob offered money to purchase, treat, and retire to sanctuary Lucy the painting, harmonica playing pachyderm after 40 years of service--in order to send her to warmth and reelephantation. He was refused on all counts. Lucy has spent her life in servitude, beginning at age 2. She will be 41 in May of 2016.
A civil case pursuant to the purchase turn-down originated in the Edmonton Queen's Bench Court, the equivalent of a US District court. Plaintiffs PETA, Zoocheck Canada, et al, representing Lucy applied to the Bench that Edmonton Zoo and its owner, the City of Edmonton, be found in violation of laws established by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquarium (CAZA), and many infractions of administrative code attached to the Alberta Code (the law of the land) regarding animal exhibits--which it is and remains in violation on several counts, but working very stonewalledly with small, unassailable (?) law-quirks,to make these infractions appear in light of extenuating circumstance. Health. Disdsain for other elephants. Bad traveler. Loves humans, etc. --mainly bunk, many felt.
The plaintiff, an zoo elephant, was well-represented, and the application filed on her behalf by PETA, Zoocheck Canada, and a private citizen. However, for some unfathomable reason, the Alberta Minister of Justice (equivalent of Attorney General) delegates the sole exclusive power sole qualified expert The Edmonton Humane Society. The civil case was left largely uncontroverted because plaintiff's evidence was disqualified.
An appellate court agreed, with one notable, exceptionally eloquent and sensible dissent.
The Supreme Court would not consider the case. The solitary eligible advocate for the elephant, the Edmonton Humane Society, issued a statement in 2009 to the effect that it could not make an informed opinion until the elephant "stabilized."
Nominator of Don't Hafta Bee aJerk Awards
|Lucy in Happier Days?|
|Alberta Minister of Justice and|
More Contact Links
|Bob Barker offered City of Edmonton a reported $300,000 + to retire Lucy. No dice, says zoo.|
|"Lucy is the poorest elephant in the world.|
Poor, poor, Lucy"--Bob Barker
Free a Fellow Creature in Distress
Let the Lady Go with the Rest
- Save Lucy
- Action Guide for Elephants (.pdf for teaching use)
- One Green Planet
- Friends of Captive Animals
- No Coat for Lucy
- Wikipedia Edmonton_Valley_Zoo
- Huffington Post Canada Lucy-the-Elephant-Edmonton
- In Defense of Animals: Worst Zoos
- Hall of Shame
- Friends of Captive Animals
- The Story of Lucy
- Facebook: Friends of Lucy
- Facebook: Free Lucy
- Supreme Court Declines to Hear Lucy's Case
- Elephant Journal: This is no Place for Lucy
I check on a regular basis to see if Bob Barker's "poor, poor Lucy" is still alive or has succumbed overnight. I keep calling and getting nowhere. If you feel any empathy at all with the smartest pet ever hemmed in by smug bureaucrats, you may want to drop a note to Ms. Ganley, above, and browse the below-listed links with its listings of many other persons of influence. Lucy is in the midst of the bitter cold winter again. Let's hope it's not her last.
PAWs is where Toronto's elephants were freed (pursuant to successful legal action) to live out their days in the warm climate, necessary space, and social environment for the family-oriented animals. Edmonton refused Bob on the grounds that Lucy was "too sick" to be moved, and prone to breathing problems under stress. Bob then offered to throw in an additional $100K to fund a disinterested team of elephant specialists to examine her, to reassure Edmonton, and to pay Lucy's first-class transport fare to the PAWS sanctuary. The Valley Zoo refused all his overtures.
Human painter Detroit expatriate Barbara Greene Mann's narrative paintings
|Barb Greene Mann (1972)|
and zany delusionaria (that she and Lucy are united in spirit) presently inspire my sleeplessness. Barb has advanced lung cancer and relies upon Lucy for strength. Nobody will give out info about Lucy. Click Barb's name for links galore.
Meantime, I have called just about everybody in Edmonton connected with the whole seedy deal, including the Edmonton Humane Society ("no comment"), the Edmonton Zoo ("call our PR person's answering machine"), and the City of Edmonton ("Let me put you on hold while I find someone to answer your questions.") Put them all together and they present the most transparent stonewall you have ever seen.
Did I mention that Lucy has spent most of her life in solitude?--the sole elephant at Edmonton's Valley Zoo, isolated from all the other critters because she had been born in the wild.
"Free Lucy" became a trending cause in media. The Valley Zoo found itself having to improvise their own factitious PR quick, about how happy Lucy was in Edmonton's deep-freeze, how she never did cotton to other elephants anyway, how she was too sickly to travel, and much preferred living under the 24/7 poking and electric prodding of her human captors.
Lucy keeps on working as always, 364 days a year. The Valley Zoo closes only on Christmas. Yet as reputedly sick as she is, the zoo charges families with kids to brave the cold and visit Lucy in her tiny barn. It is said that when she hears the kiddies coming she begins the elephant equivalent of cringing. Still, she remains the zoo's star attraction--in fact, the only thing the Edmonton zoo has going for it.
This worries me. The City of Edmonton has time on its stonewalling side. Soon, one official spokesman says, their inhumane treatment of elephants will be forever ended--once Lucy is dead. But in the meantime, she ain't going nowhere with anyone but the grim reaper. The Edmonton boys probably want to have her stuffed and put on eternal display. Sorry Lucy. Your usurpers will get theirs. Although the voice of the people--or Alberta's powerful Kathleen Ganley, Attorney General--might work a miracle.
In 1977, Gollembek sold Lucy at age two to Edmonton for $10K. The Valley Zoo designed their logo around her, trained the hell out of her in ten years isolation, and made her their star attraction. Indeed, she is talented. She paints, plays harmonica, waves signs, and behaves under constant threat of painful physical (and sometimes psychological) punishment. Few locals advocate for her rights because City Hall and the Valley Zoo has got the whole town brainwashed--except for a few notables, like the entire Edmonton Oilers team.
Lucy is neurotic, apparently--ever memorious of primal elephant rites, and her rights as an individual ever denied. She would bear no calves for the dealers.
|Tell 'em, Thanks for Nuttin', |
You Inhumane Bastards!
The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) ruled that all elephants be moved to climates less harsh to their health and natural inclinations. Most northern zoos complied. Gone from the Calgary, Toronto, Alaska, and even the Detroit and Chicago zoos are former elephant attractions, never to return. The lucky ones were transported to Elephant Sanctuaries in California and Tennessee. Less fortunate 'phants were sold into service in warm climates. Many, like Detroit's, simply died.
The average life-span of a captive elephant is 38 years; non-captive lifespan is about the same as humans. 70 years old is not unusual for a wild elephant. Lucy is 40 until May of 2016.