MEDIA RELEASE: Dozens Rally to Free Billy from No. 1 Worst Zoo for Elephants
LOS ANGELES (Jan. 29, 2024) — On Sunday, Jan. 28, dozens of elephant lovers including lawmakers and lawyers joined In Defense of Animals, Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles and Los Angeles for Animals at a rally to free Billy the elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo, which was named the worst zoo for elephants in 2023 over concerns about the suffering it's caused him during his 34 years of confinement there.
As former Los Angeles City Councilor Paul Koretz said about Billy at the rally, "After all the years he's spent at the Los Angeles Zoo, he deserves to be an elephant near the end of his life."
Konstantine Anthony, former mayor of Burbank and candidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 6, along with David Casselman, who filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Zoo to free Billy, also joined the rally and offered words of support in the campaign to free him to sanctuary.
“We are grateful for the wonderful show of support from advocates and community leaders to give Billy the life he deserves, free from the confines of an undersized exhibit in a city zoo. Billy has suffered mental and physical harm for decades at the Los Angeles Zoo. It is time to retire him to a sanctuary where he can roam, forage and heal from his zoochotic stress behavior,” said Courtney Scott, Elephant Consultant for In Defense of Animals.
Billy's latest medical records reveal a history of chronic foot infections, which can lead to fatal foot disease. He also exhibits extreme zoochotic swaying and bobbing stress behavior, a sign that he has developed brain damage.l from his many years of confinement. Billy is kept alone in a 1-acre yard with no trees, grass and little opportunity for companionship.
A sanctuary has offered to take Billy and give him the life he deserves on acres of lush grass, dotted with trees and ponds. It is time for Billy to be given this chance to live like the wild free bull elephant he was meant to be.
A Los Angeles City Council committee has approved a proposal introduced by Koretz and seconded by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to free Billy. It now must proceed to the full council for the final hearing. In the meantime, the public is being urged to provide a huge show of support to get Billy to freedom at weekly demonstrations outside the zoo.
The rally was boisterous, family and animal friendly. Porkchop, the pig, even made an appearance to show his support for Billy. And Nicolette Auburg graced the crowd with her beautiful song about Billy.
The public can learn more and support Billy’s release at www.idausa.org/freebilly.
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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, humans, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities throughout the United States, India and South Korea. www.idausa.org/elephants
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