Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI submits evidence to USDA in case against elephants in captivity

Posted: 11 December 2006


Today (11th December) the USDA concludes its consultation reviewing living conditions for captive elephants in the US. With evidence mounting of the difficulties of adequately caring for these animals in captivity, Animal Defenders International (ADI) has presented the USDA with a substantial dossier of scientific research which highlighting that many captive elephants in the US are being held in conditions which seriously compromise their welfare.

This important review is a result of intense media and public scrutiny of the plight elephants in zoos and circuses and follows the submission of a citizen’s petition by In Defense of Animals (IDA) to the USDA seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act’s adequate space provision at zoos and circuses.

Specifically, the USDA is seeking comments on all aspects of elephant care, including lack of space, unnatural substrates, unnatural social groupings, and use of bullhooks, chains, electric hotshots and other instruments of force commonly used to control elephants. Despite the poor condition of elephants, zoos are mobilizing their members to defend the status quo.

The ADI case has drawn on research published in science journals, elephant experts information from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).

ADI is just one among many of the animal protection groups who have joined efforts in hopes that their combined research and work will serve as a strong force in the protection of elephants held captive in the U.S.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive: “We have presented a very strong scientific case against the keeping of elephants in captivity. There is growing disquiet about how much these social animals suffer in an inappropriate environment. Elephants are suffering and dying young in captivity simply to entertain people. Immediate steps are needed to improve the lives of those animals in captivity, but it is also time for a sea change in attitude towards captive animals and accept that some animals should simply not be there.”

There is particular concern that in recent years wild elephants have been trapped in Swaziland and supplied to US zoos.

In the UK, ADI which is part of the UK Government’s Circus Working Group, has recently supplied a substantial 100 page dossier of evidence to an Academic Panel reviewing which non-domesticated species should be banned from traveling circuses. There is an overwhelming view from elephant experts, animal protectionists and the public (80% UK opinion poll) that elephants and other wild animals should be banned from traveling circuses.

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