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IDA Urges Authorities to Deny Permit to Export Circus Elephant

February 26th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer

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In Defense Of Animals Urges Canadian And United States Authorities To Prohibit Export Of A Circus Elephant From The U.S. To A Canadian Zoo

Ontario, Canada (February 26, 2013) — In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization headquartered in California with more than 100,000 supporters, is calling on the Canadian Minister of the Environment and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to deny a permit for the export of a U.S.-based circus elephant to a zoo in Canada.

The Bowmanville Zoo, near Toronto, Ontario, filed a request to import a bull elephant from the Miller Equipment Company, which operates the Carson & Barnes Circus based in Hugo, Oklahoma. IDA reviewed the permit application and has grave concerns about the intentions of both parties and for the welfare of the elephant.

“IDA strongly believes that this proposed transfer in the name of breeding and conservation is speculative, unsubstantiated, and a ruse,” said Nicole Meyer, Director of IDA’s Elephant Protection Campaign. “It is clear that Carson & Barnes Circus wants to rid itself of this elephant and that the Bowmanville Zoo plans to use him as a moneymaker, as it already does with the zoo’s sole female elephant, Limba.”

In comments directed to the USFWS, IDA asserts the following:

  • The transfer could be detrimental to the elephant’s health and welfare.
  • The elephant will be used for commercial purposes, in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
  • The permit application fails to demonstrate how the transfer will enhance the survival of the species or provide any benefit for Asian elephants in the wild.
  • The permit application appears to contain false statements of material fact.
  • The elephant in question could pose a possible public safety and animal welfare risk due to possible exposure to tuberculosis.
  • The Bowmanville Zoo and the Calgary Zoo have entered into a vague agreement to use the elephant for breeding, yet this is unnecessary, since the Calgary Zoo has a viable male and is ending its elephant exhibit.

“This proposed transfer is yet another example of how elephants are treated as a commodity within the zoo and circus industries, clearly illustrating how the two exploitive industries are in bed with each other to promote their own agendas at the expense of these vulnerable animals,” said Meyer.

Copies of IDA’s comments to the USFWS, letter to the Canadian Minister of the Environment, and supportive documentation are available upon request.