Buttonwood Park Zoo Makes In Defense Of Animals’ 2013 List Of «Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants»

Buttonwood Park Zoo Makes In Defense Of Animals’ 2013 List Of “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants” – Grabs Fourth Spot San Rafael, Calif. – In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization, released today its list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants for 2013. This marks IDA’s ten-year anniversary of exposing the suffering endured by elephants in zoos. “Ten years should have been enough, but as long as zoos continue to house elephants in substandard exhibits that sacrifice the animals’ welfare, IDA will continue to call out the worst offenders,” said Nicole Meyer, Director of IDA’s Elephant Protection Campaign. “It’s high time for the zoo industry to stop paying lip service and start taking meaningful action to improve conditions for the hundreds of elephants languishing—and dying prematurely—across North America.” IDA’s list illustrates how the zoo industry routinely ignores the needs of elephants in zoos through reckless breeding; housing them in unnatural social groupings in inadequate exhibits and cold climates; using outdated, harmful management techniques; and relying on conservation as a justification for keeping elephants in captivity when wild elephants are being slaughtered to near-extinction. The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on IDA’s 2009 list sparked a campaign that led to the closure of that exhibit in 2013 with three elephants retired to a sanctuary. This brings the number of zoos that have closed, or will close, their elephant exhibits to 26. While zoos and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the accrediting trade organization, are finally starting to acknowledge what IDA has asserted for years—that elephants need space and appropriate social groupings in order to thrive—the zoo industry continues to drag its feet by allowing countless elephants to suffer. The Buttonwood Park Zoo appears for the fourth time on IDA’s list with the following entry: Buttonwood Park Zoo (Massachusetts) – All Talk, No Action If the latest debacle at the Buttonwood Park Zoo doesn’t drive home the point that elephants shouldn’t live in cold climates, nothing will. Ruth, one of the zoo’s two aging Asian elephants, recently wandered out into a blizzard where she stood alone for hours in frigid temperatures after zookeepers forgot to padlock the barn when they left for the night. For seven long years, a string of zoo directors has pondered what to do with the elephants, recognizing that the exhibit is cramped and outdated, but all the talk has led to no action. Emily and Ruth remain in the same miserable conditions on just 1/3 acre, locked inside for much of the winter. Both elephants suffer from captivity-caused problems including chronic foot disease and arthritis, aggression, and stereotypic behavior. The current zoo director is clinging to the idea that this small, New England-themed zoo needs elephants, while a proposed yard expansion, for which funding may not be possible, won’t provide any relief and still denies Emily and Ruth what they desperately need—retirement to a sanctuary in a warmer climate. In addition, the Niabi Zoo (Illinois) and the Bowmanville Zoo (Canada) became the newest inductees into IDA’s Hall of Shame, a distinction reserved for the worst repeat offenders. For a detailed list of all entries, please visit: http://www.idausa.org/toptenworstzoos

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