Where elephants belong:
The full Press Release Reads:
The RSPCA believes the welfare of elephants in zoos is severely compromised. The RSPCA will join IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and HSI (Humane Society International) in appealing the decision by Environment Minister Ian Campbell to approve the importation The non-government organisations will also ask for an injunction to stop the zoos from moving the elephants before the AAT appeal is heard.
RSPCA Australia spokesperson Dr Hugh Wirth said today the RSPCA’s opposition to the plan was based on serious animal welfare concerns. “There is no doubt that the weight of scientific evidence goes against expanding the current zoo elephant population,” said Ms Speechley. “In allowing this importation to proceed, Minister Ian Campbell has condemned these elephants to a life of suffering in captivity,” she said.
The RSPCA is not opposed to zoos but points to recent scientific evidence which demonstrates that elephants are not suitable to be kept in captivity. RSPCA, IFAW and HSI also reject the zoos’ claim that the plan is in the interests of elephant conservation, rather than in the interests of raising profits for the zoos involved. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) states that endangered animals can only be imported for conservation and breeding purposes, not for commercial benefit. However, despite over 100 years of keeping elephants in captivity, Australian zoos have been unable to breed even one single Asian elephant. Furthermore, there is no plan to ever release any elephant back into the wild, placing any perceived conservation benefit in serious doubt.
“Taking elephants way from their home and family groups in Thailand, and sticking them in a zoo in the middle of Sydney or Melbourne, is no way to contribute to elephant conservation,” said Dr Wirth. “The elephant is a precious and endangered animal, not a tourist attraction,” Dr Wirth said. Elephants in zoos face restricted space and opportunity for exercise, unsuitable climate, small or unstable social groups and lack of opportunity to exhibit natural behaviours. Subsequent health problems suffered by elephants in zoos include serious foot and joint complaints and obesity. Elephants in zoos breed poorly, with a high level of stillbirth and a very high rate of infant mortality, and also generally die at a younger age.
Speaking of the RSPCA, a group that does a lot of extrodinary work in helping animals, if you are interested in helping them out, you may want to check out their Animal Art Exhibition; it sounds like a great way to spend a day, and help a great cause:
Date: 14 - 24th July 2005
> Time: Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm
> Location: Glen Eira Council Gallery.
Corner Glen Eira & Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield. Gallery Ph: 9524 3214
> Entry: Via donation
More Details at http://www.rspcavic.org/events/artexhibition.htm