target: Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture
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by October 20, 2010
From: Citizens concerned about the plight of captive elephants
Regarding: USDA's decision on placement of Queenie, an Asian elephant previously owned by Will Davenport, mandated to be sent to another facility.
We, the undersigned, urge you to review the following information and immediately intervene in the placement of Queenie.
Please review the facts and send her to the PAWS sanctuary, not the San Antonio Zoo.
Confiscated elephants should not be placed back into the stress of public exhibition, in confined, cramped spaces with little social stimulation and limited access to a natural environment.
AZA and most individual zoos have never assisted in monitoring substandard circuses. They have no written policy on the use and care of elephants in circuses, and they have done nothing to prevent the tragic circumstances that preclude confiscation of elephants like Queenie.
Sanctuaries exist to care for abandoned, abused and retired elephants. They do not use sanctuary animals for public display or any form of exhibition or promotion. Elephants whoare sent to a sanctuary enjoy a stable existence for the rest of their lives. Zoos consistently trade, relocate and loan elephants to other zoos, often severing important social bonds among elephants and their offspring.
Please consider Queenie's future. Where will you allow her to go?
The San Antonio Zoo's elephant area consists of a tiny yard and cramped barn, and there is little, if any, opportunity for proper introductions. The zoo's lone elephant, Lucky, is not a highly social elephant because of her limited space and deprived history. Lucky should have been relocated to another facility with larger yards and barns and a functioning group of elephants. The zoo's reluctance to provide her with a better quality of life and their cavalier attitude in taking Queenie with no concise plan for the future of the two elephants is indicative of the prevailing malaise at this small and poorly equipped facility.
At PAWS' ARK 2000, Queenie could live in a fifty-acre natural habitat with four other Asian females and one Asian bull. PAWS directors, Pat Derby & Ed Stewart, and staff have over fifty years experience socializing elephants and have integrated many African and Asian elephants into social groups. PAWS' 20,000 square foot Asian elephant barn allows easy access for elephants to touch and explore new companions safely with separate stalls for escape of hesitant individuals and separate, smaller yards for further socialization of new arrivals.
Secretary Vilsack, you can change Queenie's future. Please act today.
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