Written by Alisa Mullins
is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Pat Derby, the former
animal trainer who saw the error of the entertainment industry's ways and spent
the rest of her life helping captive animals by providing them with safe havens
at her three spacious Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuaries in
California. Pat died at her home on Friday.
assisted PETA with many of our campaigns, most recently by providing Ben, the bear we pried out of the clutches of the abysmal Jambbas Ranch, with a permanent home. I defy you not
to tear up at footage of Ben splashing happily in a pond at a PAWS sanctuary
after spending years in a cramped, barren cage:
2007, PAWS also opened its gates to Maggie, a wild-caught
African elephant who spent 24 years largely confined to a concrete barn at the
Alaska Zoo—10 of those years alone after the zoo's other elephant died. Maggie
reportedly collapsed twice in one week and had to be hoisted to her feet with
the aid of a winch. She was then suspended in a sling to prevent her from
collapsing again. After years of pressure from PETA, the zoo finally allowed her
to be moved to a more suitable climate and to live in the company of other
elephants, and she has been thriving since her move to PAWS.
is also home to Nicholas and Gypsy, the last two elephants of the 16 the Hawthorn Corporation was forced by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to relinquish after PETA filed repeated
complaints with the agency about abuse and neglect at Hawthorn. PETA continues
to keep up the pressure on Hawthorn, a supplier of animals to circuses, since
it still has tigers
animals in its custody.
behalf of Ben, Maggie, Nicholas, Gypsy, and so many others, we thank Pat for her
lifelong crusade. Pat may be gone, but her spirit lives on—as do the animals—in
the heaven that she created here on Earth.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.