IDA Calls Woodland Park Zoo “Elephant Task Force” A Farce

April 18th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer


In Defense Of Animals Calls Woodland Park Zoo “Elephant Task Force” A Farce

IDA to attend first public task force meeting

Seattle, Wash. (April 18, 2013) – In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization with a Northwest office near Seattle, strongly rejects the ill-conceived notion that the Woodland Park “Elephant Task Force” will produce any findings that will benefit the zoo’s three elephants. The zoo announced the task force this week.

“This so-called task force is clearly a smokescreen in the zoo’s feeble attempt to deflect criticism and shore up eroding public support for its elephant program,” said Nicole Meyer, Director of IDA’s Elephant Protection Campaign. “The task force does not appear to include one member who has any recognized expertise on elephant health or welfare.”

IDA and elephant experts worldwide have long criticized the zoo’s elephant program for its lack of space; forced confinement of the elephants indoors; chronic health problems, including painful foot disease and arthritis directly related to captivity; and the zoo’s relentless, failed breeding program.

The zoo claims the objectives of this task force are to evaluate the zoo’s elephant program and exhibit, the health and care of the zoo’s three elephants, and the value of the elephant program to the zoo. The zoo appears to base the credibility of select task force members on their association with elected officials and with the zoo itself. Task force members include a former chair and current members of the zoo board, a founding member of a zoo committee, a public affairs officer, attorneys, a museum employee, a YWCA board member, and a University of Washington employee.

What: IDA’s Nicole Meyer will attend the task force’s first public meeting and be available for interviews
When: Thursday, April 18, 4 – 7 p.m.
Where: Seattle Public Library, Washington Mutual Foundation Room (Level 4, Meeting Room 1) 1000 4th Ave.

“As expected, the zoo convened a self-serving panel that will surely prioritize the interests of the zoo above the best interests of Bamboo, Watoto, and Chai,” said Meyer. “Instead of continuing to waste taxpayer money on a failing elephant program, the elephants, the public, and the Woodland Park Zoo would be better served if the zoo permanently closed its elephant exhibit and made the compassionate decision to retire the elephants to another facility that can better meet their needs, and develop more progressive approaches to educate children about elephants and conservation.”