Regarding the recent lawsuit against the City of Seattle for its taxpayer-funded support of elephant cruelty at the zoo, local DVM responded in a letter to the editor in the Seattle Times:
I have two main concerns with the Woodland Park Zoo elephants [“Zoo sued over care of elephants,” NWWednesday, June 30]. The first lies in the way Chai is continuously inseminated despite the knowledge she will once again pass deadly herpes to any of her future offspring.
Any calf born at Woodland Park Zoo may likely die from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) before the age of 10. Of the young Asian elephants who get sick with herpes, 85 percent die.
My second concern lies in the knowledge that elephants need room to walk. Only in nice weather can the elephants be out on one acre, an enclosure that does not allow for proper lymphatic circulation. The Tennessee sanctuary would give these captive zoo elephants more than 2,000 acres and a natural water source.
The notion that we must keep elephants chained behind bars is antiquated in the time of webcam, when a visit with her at the sanctuary is only as far as the nearest computer screen.