Wednesday

Haste, Waste and Mammoth Misconceptions


The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-2 to build a costly ($40 - $60 million) elephant enclosure at the LA zoo. Only Councilmembers Dennis Zine and Bill Rosendahl voted with activists who wanted the exhibit closed and the three elephants freed...
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How logical it would have been to save both the elephants and taxpayer dollars by voting against the proposed 3.5-acre elephant exhibit and sending our imprisoned pachyderms to paradise in a spacious sanctuary in Northern California. But City Councils do not always make logical decisions as we painfully discovered on Wednesday morning.

The second most rational approach would have been to postpone the decision for a few weeks until results had been tallied on Assemblyman Lloyd Levine’s pending bill which would require California elephant exhibits to have more acreage than the LA plan provides.

Postponement would also have given Neighborhood Councils an opportunity to poll their stakeholders and make a formal recommendation to the city. Many councils have the elephant issue agendized for their May meetings due to a presentation about the topic at the LANC Congress earlier this month.

Unfortunately, haste, waste and misconceptions about the needs of massive animals have prevailed while the voiceless pachyderms and obviously equally voiceless taxpayers have been shoved aside.

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Update on the elephant situation:

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine's elephant bill is slated for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. One wonders whether the LA City Council is trying to slip something over on their constituents by sneaking it onto a supplemental agenda at the last minute.

The language of the agenda is biased and inaccurate and serves merely to reinforce their own action of wasting $40 million plus in taxpayer dollars in order to perpetuate cruelty to elephants.

The Council agenda states that the recommendation is to support Levine’s legislation AS LONG IT IS AMENDED TO BE IN AGREEMENT WITH THE AMERICAN ZOO AND AQUARIUM ASSOCIATION WHICH IS BASED ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Based on scientific research?

AZA standards are that elephants need no more than 1800 square feet outdoors and 400 square feet indoors.

This leaves barely enough room for an elephant to turn around. Why all this discussion about 3.5 acres if they are supporting the pathetic standards of AZA, which is arguably nothing more than a rubber stamp organization.

According to Catherine Doyle, founder of Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants, says, “It is ridiculous to promote AZA space standards. AZA space standards for elephants establish an area less than half of the area legally required by the city of LA for horses.The List No. 1 of Uses Permitted in Various Zones in the City of Los Angeles, 2003 states: "Equine Keeping ­ 17,500 square foot minimum lot area; 4,000 square feet of lot area per animal." (And where is the science to back this up?)AZA allows a minimum 1800 sq ft outdoors for elephants, with 900 sq ft for each additional animal. 1800 sq ft is the size of a 3-car garage. Indoor requirement is 400 square feet per, which is a 20x20 space for an animal that ranges from 8,000 to 13,000 pounds. It is better (for the City Council) not to take a position on what is essentially a poorly thought out resolution. I feel support of that resolution would be an embarrassment to the city and a solid step backwards in the care of elephants ”

You can find out about the supplemental City Council Agenda for Tuesday at the City Council website…

Please let the Councilmembers know how you feel.

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