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good news and annoying things

October 10, 2007

First, the annoying thing. This letter was recently printed in the Chico News and Review:

For shame
Michael Vick’s entire life has been devastated by his breaking the law. Football may never see another quarterback with his versatility and talent, but he is guilty of being responsible for so many dogs dying—so the penalty is his to pay.

Abortion is legal. Can we ever live down the shame?

The Rev. Louie Ricci

It annoyed me to no end, so much so that I raced home to write a response before I could even eat my dinner. (Which was made with chicken causing me to have to drive all the way back clear across town to have it made correctly. You have no idea how annoyed I was by the time I got home.) This is what I wrote:

Mr. Ricci, your letter gave me the impression that it is shameful for me, as an animal rights activist, to rally against Vick’s crimes when abortion is still legal and a battle in many other circles. Am I not able to fight my fight amongst the many other fights and battles to be won? Comparing abortion to animal abuse is like comparing apples to oranges.

Animal rights activists such as myself have to answer one repeat question over and over again; “Why are you wasting your time helping animals when there are humans that need our help?!” My response to this would be a quote from Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA: “Because compassion isn’t some measly pot from which you can only take one spoonful.”

I leave you with one of my other favorite quotes that, in a way, ties our battles together: “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” Leonardo da Vinci

I highly doubt it will get printed, but it made me feel better knowing that I had written something, instead of diving head first into my yellow curry with tofu and forgetting about it.

Now, the good news. It’s old news, but it’s new to this blog because I haven’t been writing.

Note: I’m including the entire article because I don’t really feel like excerpting right now. But I also wanted to make sure that everyone who reads my blog learns about PAWS from reading this and hopefully sends them a donation. I’ve been wanting to volunteer there for a long time now, but gas and scheduling never seem to work out. Some day, money won’t be an issue and not only will I be able to volunteer, but I’ll be able to donate large sums of money to them as well.

Maggie’s bound for California elephant refuge

PAWS WINS: Zoo board agrees to ship elephant to San Andreas.

Maggie the elephant, come on down.

Alaska’s only elephant has won an all-expenses paid trip to the Bob Barker-endorsed Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., according to the terms of a deal announced by the Alaska Zoo Board on Thursday.

Accommodations will include a sprawling 75-acre enclosure where she can mingle with four other African elephants. She’ll have a posh 20,000-square-foot barn in case the central California climate gets a wee bit chilly. And there is an indoor jacuzzi that she can fully submerge in to rest her feet. Seriously.

The decision to name PAWS as top pick came with unanimous agreement at a board meeting Wednesday night, said board president Dick Thwaites. The details of the move still need to be worked out, he said, but both the zoo and the facility have reached a preliminary agreement.

Those details should be ironed out within two weeks, which should offer enough time to ship her off before winter sets in late next month, said Alaska Zoo director Pat Lampi.

“We wanted to get this done before the snow flies,” he said. “We chose PAWS because of their facilities and staffing, and we wanted to make the best choice for Maggie.”

The PAWS facility recently made headlines when its officials, accompanied by TV personality Bob Barker, visited Anchorage after proposing to take Maggie and fully pay for her relocation expenses.

During the visit, Barker said he would donate $750,000 to care for her if she were moved to PAWS. The proposal also included an anonymous $100,000 grant for the Alaska Zoo, but that is no longer part of the deal, Thwaites said.

“The deal was, we weren’t selling Maggie,” he said. “None of the board wanted that to be a condition to the move. We never had the intent to make money on this.”

However, as part of the deal, PAWS has offered to cover all of the shipping and veterinary costs associated with the move, which will be between $100,000 to $200,000, Thwaites said.

Zoo officials will be traveling to PAWS in the coming weeks to examine the facility, along with outside experts, so they can be sure Maggie will fit in with the other elephants, Thwaites said. After all, at the tender age of 25, she’s going to be the baby among elephants that range in age from 25 to 40.

PAWS is experienced in introducing and integrating new elephants into its facility, Thwaites said. It has four African and five Asian elephants — though the species are kept segregated — and has successfully relocated six elephants in the past three years.

Earlier this week, Maggie was examined by an elephant expert from the San Diego Wildlife Park and was found to be in good health and ready to travel, Lampi said. Once at PAWS, she will have access to 24-hour veterinary care, he said.

Officials from both facilities are still working to coordinate the relocation plans, including how to fly her and what staff need to be involved, Thwaites said. Zoo officials will continue crate training her using her treadmill until the crate that will be used for her shipping arrives.

Animal rights groups intensified their calls for Maggie’s departure in May when fire crews had to hoist the 8,000-pound elephant to her feet twice within a week.

The problem was likely colic, zoo officials said, but they agreed to move her earlier this summer in the face of increasing public outcry.

Now, the animal rights groups, which have long criticized Maggie’s conditions and a perceived lack of action by the zoo, are saying the zoo has made the right decision.

“Having her stay up here another winter would be disastrous,” said Catherine Doyle, campaign director for the San Rafael, Calif.-based In Defense of Animals. “I’m so happy. Kudos to the Alaska Zoo for having done the right thing for Maggie.”

Lampi said having her gone will offer some relief to the zoo, which has spent about $1.3 million on Maggie during the past few years and still has not fully met her needs. Maggie has consistently been the “sole strong drawer” for the zoo, Thwaites said.

“There’s some things we just couldn’t provide her, like companionship and a larger exhibit,” he said. “Everybody will miss Maggie. We won’t forget her.”

The photo below was taken of Maggie in her home in Anchorage, Alaska. Obviously, elephants don’t belong in snow. I wonder why the hell it took them so long to figure this out.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Dan permalink
    October 11, 2007 4:50 pm

    Sarah, you missed the best argument for why you champion animals instead of people. People have a voice and a choice. Animals have neither. I have great respect and admiration for your commitment to creatures that are unable to fight their own battles.

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