URGENT: APRIL 18TH DAY OF ACTION FOR ELEPHANTS!

TELL CONGRESS: IT'S TIME FOR BIG CHANGES FOR ELEPHANTS IN ZOOS!

Hobbled by arthritis, Toni at National Zoo
At the St. Louis Zoo, Clara's feet were so debilitated leans to relieve painful pressure on her legs that she had to wear sandals. She died there last year.


On Wednesday, April 18, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will take to Capitol Hill for its "Congressional Leadership Day."

This is a great opportunity for us to speak up and bring attention to the plight of elephants in zoos!

While AZA seeks increased federal support, let's remind Congress that elephants are suffering in zoos and it's just not right!

ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18TH, WE ARE ASKING EVERYONE TO CALL, FAX, OR EMAIL YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS AND DEMAND THAT THE ZOO INDUSTRY MAKE BIG CHANGES FOR EARTH'S LARGEST LAND MAMMAL.

The U.S. Animal Welfare Act requires zoos to provide adequate space and conditions to maintain elephant health and well-being. Zoos are violating this federal law by holding elephants in cramped and inadequate conditions that cause them to sicken and die prematurely.

IDA has submitted a Citizen Petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at zoos holding elephants.

Ask your Senators and Representative to support the IDA petition by calling the Secretary of Agriculture and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

It's time for zoos to stop violating the Animal Welfare Act. If zoos cannot provide the vast space and naturalistic conditions that elephants need to thrive, they should not hold elephants.

The Capitol Hill Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. For email and fax information for your representatives, see www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

Please use the talking points below:

In the wild, elephants: - Walk for miles every day on soft ground and grasses. - Live in large, tightly-knit extended families in which females live together for life. - Possess a sophisticated ability to communicate, intricate social structure, and mourn their dead.

In zoos, elephants: - Spend their entire lives in tiny yards of only a few acres or less. - Live in small groups of unrelated elephants. - Cannot exercise adequately and are forced to stand on damaging hard surfaces, such as hard-packed dirt and concrete, for years on end. - Are confined to concrete-floored barn stalls for extended periods of time, especially during the winter. - Develop painful problems with their joints and feet, as well as other disorders, due to zoo conditions.

Recent surveys document that a majority of elephants in zoos suffer from painful and often fatal arthritis and foot disease -- a direct result of spending their lives in cramped, unnatural and inadequate zoo exhibits.

Elephants need large, naturalistic habitats to thrive. The two U.S. elephant sanctuaries provide the model for zoos to follow.

"As a scientist who has studied elephant behavior and communication among free-living individuals for 30 years, I am stunned that the AZA is not able to perceive the empirical evidence that elephants need much more space than what is currently allotted to them." - Joyce Poole, Ph.D.

"Small enclosures with a subsequent lack of exercise causing poor muscle tone, therefore poor joint support, lead to osteoarthritis and eventually degenerative joint disease. Enclosures made with concrete, or other unyielding substrates where elephants cannot avoid standing in their own urine and feces, predispose elephants' feet to toenail cracks, sole abscesses, and eventual osteomyelitis which leads to death." - Mel Richardson, DVM

For more information, visit //www.helpelephants.com or call (919) 732-8983.



National Call In To Congress Day for Elephants: Clarification

Today you received an alert asking you to call your Congressperson and Senators asking them to support IDA's citizens petition to the USDA calling for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at zoos holding elephants.

A number of people have called to request contact information for the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, who we suggested your federal representatives call in support of the petition.

If you would like to contact these individuals and ask them to make sure that the USDA moves swiftly on the IDA petition to force zoos to comply with the Animal Welfare Act by providing adequate space and conditions to elephants, here is the contact information:

Mike Johanns
Secretary of Agriculture
Tel: (202) 720-3631
Email: Mike.Johanns@usda.gov

Collin Peterson
Chair - House Agriculture Committee
Tel: (202) 225-8510
Email: agriculture@mail.house.gov

Tom Harkin
Chair, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Tel: (202) 224-3254
Fax: (202) 224-9369
TDD: (202) 224-4633
Email: //harkin.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm


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