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Nov 6, 2006
Kinship Circle Primary
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11/3/06 -- Ruby's Abbreviated Life In The L.A. Zoo

Save Elephants in Zoos

Use portions of our letter, but add some original thoughts.
Hundreds of identical letters can lessen the impact.
Indicate if you are a LOS ANGELES CITIZEN

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
200 N. Spring St., Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-978-0600; fax: 213-978-0750

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

Citizens around the world care deeply about the plight of captive elephants.
We applauded your decision to reclaim elephant Ruby from the Knoxville
(Tennessee) Zoo for a heartwarming reunion with Gita, her longtime companion
at the Los Angeles Zoo. We supported your 2005 request for an appraisal of
the "housing and health needs" of Los Angeles Zoo elephants and your
temporary hold on funding for an exhibit expansion.

But as you know, Ruby and Gita's reunion ended in June 2006 when keepers
found Gita, 48, on the ground. Swift medical attention couldn't save the
Asian elephant from the foot disorders and arthritis that plague captive
elephants. Ruby may suffer a similar fate, unless she is moved to a

I understand the Los Angeles Zoo Commission advocates Ruby's relocation to
PAWS sanctuary in Northern California. At an October 17, 2006 meeting,
commissioners concluded PAWS would provide proper lifelong care for Ruby. I
respectfully ask you to back their consensus by aiding Ruby's transfer to
PAWS, where she can live alongside fellow African elephants on 70 acres of
natural habitat.

At the present time, Ruby lives an abbreviated life. Rather than roam 20 or
more miles everyday, she subsists in a cramped display, cut off from public
view and other elephants. Clearly, she is deprived of the space, exercise
and social enrichment to meet her physical and psychological needs. Female
elephants, in particular, form complex social bonds. In the secluded
confines of a zoo, an elephant's lifespan may decrease from 50-70 years to
40-45 years. An estimated 50% endure chronic arthritis and foot abscesses
from insufficient exercise and endless hours upon hardened surfaces.

You can stop Ruby from becoming a sad statistic by ensuring she is not moved
to another zoo. As you are aware, Ruby's trial run at the Knoxville Zoo in
2003 led to mental distress so severe, handlers were unable to integrate her
with other elephants.

I appreciate your past concern for elephants in zoos and urge you to take
immediate steps to remove Ruby, an African elephant, from the L.A. Zoo's new
Asian oriented display. Please let Ruby savor relative freedom in the open
space and organic terrain of PAWS sanctuary.

Thank you,

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Posted: Nov 6, 2006 7:44pm
Aug 9, 2006
Darby Holladay (301) 734-3265
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today seeks public comment on the space and living conditions for captive elephants. All elephants held by circuses, exhibitors or zoos are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and must have a USDA exhibitor’s license.
The comments will assist APHIS in determining whether specific standards are needed in the AWA for captive elephants’ space and living conditions and what those standards should be.

Specifically, APHIS invites responses to the following questions:

  • What are the causes of arthritis in elephants?
  • What, if any, foot care practices have been used on captive elephants to maintain healthy feet?
  • What floors are best for captive elephants? Are there any flooring conditions that promote foot problems?
  • Do captive elephants require a certain amount of exercise (i.e., walking) to maintain healthy feet?
  • What industry/professional standards are available for elephant care and husbandry?
  • Are there any other health or care issues related to elephants that should be specifically addressed in the AWA standards?
The AWA authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to set standards and regulations governing the humane handling, care, treatment and transportation of certain animals by dealers, research facilities, exhibitors, carriers and intermediate handlers.

Notice of this action is scheduled for publication in the Aug. 9 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Oct. 10. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0044, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at and, in the “Search Regulations and Federal Actions” box, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0044 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Web siteand may also be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:40 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.


Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS news release page at Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.


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Posted: Aug 9, 2006 10:23pm


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Melanie B.
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