Written by Michelle Kretzer
Update: When the plan to hire a Russian cargo jet to
take the Toronto Zoo's three elephants to a Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary
didn't work out, the Royal Canadian Air Force stepped up. Now, as soon as
Defence Minister Peter Mackay gives the thumbs-up, Toka, Thika, and Iringa will
be flying high courtesy of a C-17 transport aircraft and a military endeavour
dubbed "Operation Dumbo Drop."
The following was originally published on November 29, 2012:
It could be only a matter of days until the Toronto Zoo's three captive elephants, Toka, Thika, and Iringa, let the frozen Canadian ground fade into the distance as they set off for their new home: the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in sunny California. After a long campaign by Zoocheck Canada, PETA members, and the compassionate members of the Toronto City Council, the trio will trade their zoo enclosure for acres of varied natural terrain, lakes to bathe in, heated barns, and even therapeutic whirlpool baths. Although the elephants' tale has a storybook ending, their journey to freedom certainly wasn't without conflict.
jmbone | cc by 2.0
The Long Road Home
When the Toronto Zoo, under pressure from Bob Barker, Zoocheck Canada, and PETA, initially agreed to release its captive elephants, it was determined to simply ship them to another decrepit zoo. But the Toronto City Council sided with animal advocates and voted for the gentle giants to be retired to PAWS instead.
Then it seemed as though one of the elephants' foot ailments might make the 40-hour drive too dangerous. So animal advocate extraordinaire Bob Barker stepped up and provided the trio with their own "Elephant Force One" of sorts, a private plane that will quickly whisk them to their new home. The Toronto Zoo then raised concerns about the potential for tuberculosis at PAWS, but an independent infectious-disease report determined that the facility was safe. Once again, the Toronto City Council voted, and once again, it resoundingly insisted that the elephants be sent to PAWS immediately.
A Tale of Two Cities
The Toronto City Council also said in its final motion on Toka, Thika, and Iringa that it feels that Edmonton, Alberta's, Valley Zoo should allow the zoo's lonely elephant, Lucy, to retire to PAWS as well. Because elephants are ill-equipped to tolerate frigid weather, Lucy is forced to spend the winter months confined to a small barn. Our lawsuit to free Lucy did not succeed despite the wonderful comments of one judge who felt Lucy should be free but who could not persuade the other judges on the panel. Lucy hasn't had the company of any other elephant in four long years. But Zoocheck Canada and PETA are determined to win her freedom, and Bob Barker is advocating for her with all his might.
What You Can Do
Please join us in asking Edmonton officials to give Lucy the peaceful retirement that she so deserves.
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.
We're happy to report a favorable development in this case:
A court has denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to
dismiss the lawsuit brought against the agency by PETA, the Animal Legal
Defense Fund (ALDF), and two Fayetteville-area residents seeking to overturn
the USDA's renewal of Jambbas Ranch Tours' license to continue to operate the
wretched roadside zoo that has racked up dozens of violations of the federal
Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The ruling comes in the wake of the recent high-profile rescue of Ben the bear, who now resides in a spacious habitat at a sanctuary in
California, thanks to the ruling in the earlier lawsuit mentioned below.
PETA's challenge to the licenses will move forward, but the
animals at Jambbas have no time to lose—please urge USDA officials to revoke Jambbas' license
immediately and offer these animals the chance to live out their lives with the kind of
comfort and dignity that Ben now enjoys.
Originally posted on April 19th, 2012:
of Cumberland County, North Carolina, who are sickened by Jambbas Ranch Tours' pervasive neglect and abuse of animals have joined PETA and the Animal Legal
Defense Fund in suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its renewal
of Jambbas' license despite chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
AWA allows an animal exhibitor or dealer to have his or her license renewed only
if the person's business operates in accordance with AWA regulations. But the
USDA has repeatedly renewed Jambbas' license despite the fact that every single inspection of the roadside
zoo between October 2006 and January 2012 resulted in citations for AWA violations
including the following:
is the second pending lawsuit involving Jambbas Ranch. The other suit seeks to
have an abused bear named
Ben removed from Jambbas and relocated to a sanctuary where PETA has made arrangements
for him to live. In this sad video, Ben paces in his barren cage, bites the
chain-link fencing, pushes against it, and tries to reach under it—behavior a
bear expert has identified as a cry for help:
asking the USDA not to renew Jambbas' license, PETA also pointed out several
violations of the AWA that relate to Ben, including a lack of adequate space,
which is likely causing his repetitive, abnormal behavior.
is clearly not qualified to possess an AWA license. We will keep you updated as
the lawsuit progresses.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
Update: Animal friend and philanthropist Bob Barker is paying the entire cost of shipping Toka, Thika, and Iringa from Toronto to the PAWS sanctuary in California.
The following was originally posted on November 25, 2011:
To thank the three members of the Toronto City Council who spearheaded the vote to send the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary, we sent them each a box of vegan chocolates and a Compassionate Legislator Award certificate. The City Council voted 31 to 4 to allow Iringa, Toka, and Thika to leave the freezing Canadian winters behind and spend the rest of their days roaming with other retired elephants at California's spacious Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary.
Elephants in Canadian zoos—including Lucy, the lone elephant in the Edmonton Zoo—spend much of their time indoors since they cannot tolerate the winter cold and snow. They often suffer from arthritis and other painful ailments as a result of the lack of exercise and standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods. While the compassionate city councillors recognized the need to send the three Toronto elephants to a sanctuary, zoo officials were battling to send Iringa, Toka, and Thika to another zoo. But last night the zoo voted to send the three elephants to PAWS.
Please click here to send a polite email to the Toronto Zoo thanking them for their compassionate decision to send Iringa, Toka and Thika to the PAWS sanctuary.
Written by PETA
Toka, Thika, and Iringa—the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo—will
soon be on their way to paradise. By a vote of 31 to 4, the
Toronto City Council overwhelmingly agreed that California's Performing Animal
Welfare Society (PAWS)
sanctuary is a much more appropriate home for these elephants. Earlier, there
had been a push to send the three to another zoo.
© Digital Vision | Just Elephants | Getty Images
PETA and our colleagues at Zoocheck Canada kept up the pressure,
writing to councilmembers and mobilizing Canadians to make their opinions
known. Now, these three elephants will know the joys of roaming freely,
swimming in ponds, taking dust baths, and socializing with other elephants.
PAWS has a history of healing and restoring quality of life to elephants who
have become debilitated from years in captivity.
TV icon and animal defender Bob Barker has offered to pay for the elephants' relocation to the sanctuary at a cost
estimated to be between
$100,000 and $300,000.
As an unrelated bonus, the City Council received a standing
ovation when it also voted to ban
the possession, sale, and consumption of shark fins,
with hefty fines for violators.
Now, it's Lucy's
turn. Please click here to ask Edmonton
to follow their Toronto colleagues' lead and send this ailing and lonely
elephant to PAWS, and click here to
urge the Toronto Zoo and City Council to send Iringa, Toka, and Thika to the sanctuary without delay.
by Jennifer O'Connor
Tropical Storm Ondoy caused severe flooding in many areas of metropolitan Manila last weekend. While PETA Asia-Pacfic's Manila office survived Ondoy intact and local staffers and their animal companions are safe, the storm caused massive damage.
As many of us remember from Hurricane Katrina, animals are often left in desperate situations after disasters, and PETA Asia-Pacific staffers, along with members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), have been busy rescuing animals in distress.
PAWS—with which PETA Asia-Pacific works closely year-round on issues such as spaying and neutering and stopping the introduction of greyhound racing to the Philippines—has also opened its shelter as an evacuation center for companion animals affected by the storm.
Tropical Storm Ondoy provides a sobering reminder that we all need to plan ahead to ensure the safety of our animal companions during natural disasters. You can learn more about preparing your companions for storms and other disasters here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
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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.