An Alberta judge has dismissed a complaint by animal advocacy groups to declare that Lucy the elephant is an animal in distress.
The groups plan to appeal the dismissal.
Lucy the elephant lives in a zoo in the Edmonton Valley Zoo in Edmonton, Alberta. She has been the focus of a lengthy campaign by several groups who want to have her moved to a sanctuary in the United States, like the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee or the Performing Animal Wildlife Sanctuary in California.
Several factors make Lucy’s case unique. Firstly she lives farther north than any other elephant in North America, putting her well out of the climate that elephants are used to. She’s also in poor health, likely resulting from her confinement and the climate.
As well, Lucy is the only elephant in Canada that lives alone. Elephants are inherently very social animals and are not accustomed to being solitary.
For several years, groups like Zoocheck have been working to garner support for and increase public awareness of Lucy’s situation.
After public appeals from celebrities like Bob Barker and William Shatner fell on deaf ears, and after the city ignored a petition with 3,500 names, the groups decided to seek a legal solution to the problem.
The lawyer fighting for Lucy’s relocation is arguing that Lucy’s health problems are a result of her living situation and the only long term solution is to have Lucy be moved to an environment where she can live in a more natural environment.
It seems like the legal battle is only just getting started. Hopefully this setback doesn’t spell the eventual end of the effort to free Lucy.
When we are fighting to have Lucy relocated, let us not forget that while her situation tugs especially hard at the average person’s heart strings, she is not alone. Animals of all sorts are suffering in zoos all over the world and any campaign to free Lucy must be in the context of abhorring all zoos, not just one particular zoo.
Animals do not exist for our entertainment any more than they exist for our consumption. Boycott zoos and circuses and any other industry that exploits animals for the amusement of humans.