IDA Urges USDA to Investigate Elephant Death at Baton Rouge Zoo

April 2nd, 2013 by Nicole Meyer


In Defense Of Animals Urges USDA To Investigate Elephant Death At Brec’s Baton Rouge Zoo

Baton Rouge, La. (April 2, 2013) – In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization with more than 100,000 supporters, is urging the USDA to investigate the death of an elephant named Judy at Brec’s Baton Rouge Zoo.

Zookeepers reportedly found Judy dead in her enclosure when they arrived the morning of Friday, March 29th. In media reports, the zoo director claimed he had no idea when Judy died or what caused her death, calling it a “surprise.” Yet, zoo records confirm Judy suffered from arthritis since 1983, starting when she was just 16 years old. Arthritis is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death among captive elephants caused by standing on hard surfaces and inactivity due to lack of space.

“We don’t know what agony Judy endured overnight, or whether her life might have been saved or her suffering lessened,” said Nicole Meyer, Director of IDA’s Elephant Protection Campaign. “Since the zoo was fully aware that Judy suffered from a crippling, painful, and deteriorating disease for three decades, there is no excuse that staff at Brec’s Baton Rouge Zoo apparently had no plan in place to provide Judy with the adequate, humane care she needed in her final hours.”

IDA contends that the zoo’s failure to provide vigilant nighttime monitoring to an elephant known to have chronic health issues, including recent reports of digestive problems, violates provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide adequate veterinary care, proper handling, and adequate staffing.

At age 46, Judy died far short of her natural lifespan. Contrary to the zoo’s claims, Asian elephants can live up to 60 years in the wild, yet elephants in zoos are dying prematurely from diseases directly related to captivity, such as foot infections and arthritis. Judy’s death leaves the zoo’s surviving female elephant, 37-year-old Bozie, alone.

“IDA is asking the USDA to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into Judy’s death and take appropriate enforcement action, if warranted,” said Meyer. “We are also urging Brec’s Baton Rouge Zoo to act in the best interests of the surviving elephant, Bozie, by retiring her to a spacious, natural-habitat environment where she could spend her remaining years in the company of other elephants.”

132 Responses to “IDA Urges USDA to Investigate Elephant Death at Baton Rouge Zoo”

  1. April 09, 2013 at 1:03 pm, Doris Cutler said:

    Please do more checking to find out why this elephant died! More and better care must be given to your remaining elephant to prevent a repeat of this death, and another elephant should be acquired for its company, that is, if you can be sure to take better care of it! I suspect a better solution would be to transfer Bozie to another natural habitat environment so that she will have a better life.


  2. April 06, 2013 at 3:01 pm, NANCIE SAILOR said:

    absolutely inexecuable, the same as if she were murdered by the zoo!! ZOO’S SHOULD BE EXTERIMINATED IMMEDIATELY.!!!!!!!!!!


  3. April 06, 2013 at 12:11 pm, Pamela Kaczynski said:

    Yet another elephant has died from not enough space and arthritis. I pray the USDA steps up to the plate and monitors Bozie day and night. Better yet she needs to go to a sanctuary like the Elephant sanctuary in Tennessee where she will have the space and can be around other elephants. If the foot disease and arthritis dont take her life, the psycological stress from being alone will damage her. PLEASE Baton Rouge zoo, do the right thing for Bozie. Dont let her spend the rest of her days alone. If you dont have the space to get another elephant for company ,then send her to a sanctuary.


  4. April 06, 2013 at 11:26 am, Joan Grishman said:

    Everyone is aware that exotic animals should be left in the wild and protected. We have all written to our representatives about Zoos and Circuses; we have rallied and picketed in front of these venues, we have sent money to send elephants to sanctuaries, one by one and yet….nothing has changed. The absurd lack of awareness and sanity of those with the power to change the lives of all these animals continues.
    Remember the Twilight Zone episode that ends with humans being the main exhibit? I wonder how long we would survive as a species, i.e.,solitary confinement is still lawful in prisons.


  5. April 05, 2013 at 1:30 pm, Jean said:

    Let’s face it–Zoo’s are an 18th century, Imperialist, rich person’s employment scheme. And an excuse to drink a lot and wear ball gowns at “fund raisers”. They should all be closed.


  6. April 05, 2013 at 11:09 am, Sharon Cohen said:

    The USDA is a joke! I have yet to see them do anything for the animals. They send them to the worst zoos in the country, allow them to be beaten and chained for years in the circus, with all kinds of documentation, and they do NOTHING! They are worthless and it makes me sick!


  7. April 05, 2013 at 10:44 am, Mary Nellessen said:

    I believe all elephants should be given a santuary of their natural surroundings and room to roam. Most zoos tend not to do this and that is why I no longer visit the zoo. I refuse to support our local zoo.


  8. April 05, 2013 at 9:54 am, kathy said:

    Bozie is really suffering now too, they suffer greatly at the loss of family members and Judy was her only family… Please rescue her and save her from further misery and possible death herself.


  9. April 05, 2013 at 9:45 am, alexis said:

    rip, judy.


  10. April 05, 2013 at 8:52 am, Marcia Kohler said:

    Thank you for filing a complaint, on behalf of poor Judy, so tragically helpless, defenseless and mistreated. I am sickened by this. Without a doubt, the remaining elephant in captivity at this Baton Rouge Zoo should be released into a humane environment, with other elephants, immediately and without hesitation.

    Is there a petition that we could sign? Anything that can be done to help?

    Thank you again, for your actions.

    Marcia Kirsh Kohler


  11. April 05, 2013 at 7:54 am, Maricsa Morales said:

    Please help free Bozie to habitat where she can safe and be with her kind..


  12. April 05, 2013 at 5:17 am, Lisa MacLean said:

    If zoos are going to exploit elephants for money they should be made to provide a sanctuary like living area otherwise they should not be allowed to have elephants. Would any human like to be put in a cage with concrete floors? I think not, so why do humans do such things to innocent animals that are constantly being taken for granted….keep in mind your child may never have the chance to see any elephants if this keeps up.
    Is anyone out there who cares about animal welfare that runs zoos….cheeez
    I would never bring my son to any zoo, I do not support such cruelty.
    Some zoos I’m sure do care for their animals but when it comes to spending money on an animals with health problems then these owners at these zoos coward up and do nothing. They should be fined, jailed and see how they like it.


  13. April 05, 2013 at 4:37 am, Bernice Reynolds said:

    The USDA is another joke in a long line of worthless organizations in America. What irkes me the most is in a time when we need every penny we can get, these sorry excuses get paid for jobs that don’t even attempt to so.


  14. April 05, 2013 at 3:07 am, Betty Semler said:

    Hopefully, the USDA will step up to the plate and do something right for a change.


  15. April 04, 2013 at 6:10 pm, Mimi Scott said:

    Please send Bosie the surviving elephant to a sanctuary. Zoos are not the place for wild, sentient animals. The public can speak by not attending and supporting zoos that lack healthy conditions, including mate animals, for their CAPTIVES.


  16. April 04, 2013 at 5:21 pm, Carolyn Alexander said:

    I’m so sorry, Judy, that Baton Rouge is filled with some uncaring people who did not demand your release to a sanctuary. And your only friend, Bozie,will probably be alone for the rest of her life to suffer the same kind of death as you. May you RIP since you found none in life.


  17. April 04, 2013 at 4:42 pm, Gail Heinz said:

    There has to be an end to any zoo, or circus animals, to be kept in any surroundings that do not comply with the natural habitats of these wonderful intelligent animals. Laws must be passed to make this kind of behavior towards animals to be a chargable offence.It is animal cruelty, and should not be accepted on any level.


  18. April 04, 2013 at 4:04 pm, Elisa Orozco said:

    Please! Do all you can to get an action going to send Bozie to a sanctuary!!!


  19. April 04, 2013 at 3:37 pm, Joan Sullivan said:

    The unfortunate and premature death of Judy should prompt this zoo to retire the remaining elephant, Bozie. An elephant sanctuary , with companion elephants, natural grass or something normal for her feet would be the kindest thing to do for Bozie. She has given enough of her life for this uncaring zoo.


  20. April 04, 2013 at 3:29 pm, Wanda Jackson said:

    No animal should be treated with such cruelty and indifference.I feel no animals should be used to entertain people,that is not their purpose!


  21. April 04, 2013 at 2:32 pm, Dave and Rita Cross said:

    My God, do the right thing and allow Bozie to live our her life in a more normal and healthy setting, at one of the wonderful animal sanctuaries in this country!


  22. April 03, 2013 at 8:39 am, said:

    I pray that justice will be done and that ceases from ever happening again.


  23. April 02, 2013 at 6:55 pm, judy thorpe said:

    The zoo was already aware of Judy’s failing health and failed to do anything about it. There needs to be some kind of punishment for this. Judy was only 46 years old and died from abuse of being in captivity for all her life. What part of this do the zoos not understand about how much elephants suffer in captivity!? Let these majestic animals retire to a sanctuary before it’s too late.


  24. April 02, 2013 at 10:12 am, Sheryl Lopez-Farragher said:

    This should not be happening to any animal. Judy should have had adequate habitat and care. There should be an investigation on any animal especially when said animal dies before their time. Bozie needs to be retired now. She has been on display for long enough. But this must be taken seriously and also a wake up call. Humans need to evolve.


  25. April 02, 2013 at 9:42 am, JoelleWalker said:

    After the latest slap on the wrist to that circus trainer lowlife who’s been abusing elephants for three decades, forgive me if I don’t have any faith whatsoever in the USDA… Elephants in zoos are the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. And you really think these cretins in Baton Rouge who wouldn’t bother to provide poor Judy with what she needed to survive will even consider what is best for the surviving elephant? Yeah, right.


  26. April 02, 2013 at 9:28 am, Lara said:

    Please retire 37 year old Bozie and get her off the hard concrete floor. This is very sad, heartbreaking story.


  27. April 02, 2013 at 9:00 am, debra nelligan said:

    This is totally disgusting dont you people care about anything but yourselves harsh penaltys for this you will get yours later


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