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Mar 28, 2008

An animal-rights group is giving city councillors something to chew on.

A few members of Edmonton-based Voice for Animals yesterday dropped off packages of "elephant dung cookies" at city hall for councillors and the mayor.

The protesters were raising a stink, demanding the Valley Zoo ship Lucy the elephant to a warmer climate.

"It's actually very safe," said Tove Reece, a Voice for Animals spokesman.

She was referring to the chocolate-coloured goodies - really "vegan squares" made of all-natural ingredients.

"It's to remind councillors that Lucy is still sitting down at the zoo, by herself," said Reece. "We've had a really cold winter. She's been locked up most of the winter."

The activists want her sent to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.

City spokesman Robert Moyles said that sanctuary is not accredited by any zoo organization.

"We would never send her there for that reason, but also because it's not in her best interest to move. She has some health issues that we feel are best managed in her current conditions," Moyles said.

He said Lucy, who has arthritis and some respiratory issues, is receiving "exceptional care" in Edmonton.

Coun. Karen Leibovici said she has no reason to believe Lucy is being mistreated.

"From my perspective, I trust the Valley Zoo has her best interests at heart," she said. "She's like part of the family there."

Reece said Lucy needs to be with other elephants. She said animals in poorer health have been transported.

"Edmonton is just not a place for elephants," she said. "The other thing is, the city is not giving the zoo the kind of money it needs to have a good zoo."

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Posted: Friday March 28, 2008, 8:54 am
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